Books: Non-Fiction

Madiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela

Book — Non-fiction. Danny Schechter. 2013. 272 pages.
Companion book to the 2013 film about Nelson Mandela, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1945, 1961, 1975
Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies

MadibaA-Z_Cover_largeMadiba A to Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela, written as a companion volume to the film Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, includes behind-the-scenes insights from the actors and filmmakers. It includes vignettes that will humanize Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle.

As author Danny Schechter explained in an interview on Democracy Now!, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a dramatized but important film about Nelson Mandela, in the way that the movie Gandhi was about Gandhi. But it leaves a lot out. And that’s why the producers of the movie asked me to write a book about the rest of the story. And I did so by interviewing over 150 people who worked with Mandela, who were part of this whole struggle. And what I got from them was not only admiration for him, but also a perspective that this was not just one man, but a movement, that pulled this off, this change. And it was a movement that was organized in a democratic manner from the bottom up, not the top down. So, you know, even though we revere and admire Mandela, we have to also pay respect to the people of South Africa who suffered all these years — you know, torture, imprisonment, death — fighting apartheid.” [Full interview.]

Madiba A to Z is affectionate without romanticizing Mandela. It offers the reader an eclectic look at Mandela’s complicated legacy. Excerpts from the book could be useful in the classroom. For example, having students read one or two of the “letters” and then jig-saw with each other, trying to answer key questions about Mandela’s life and legacy.

ISBN: 9781609805579 | Seven Stories Press