Nelson Mandela’s is a story so well-known that I’d have argued it impossible to be retold. Perhaps I’d still argue that. However, I do not think that 100 Mandela Moments, written by South African author Kate Sidley and published by South African publishing house Jonathan Ball in dedication to this year’s centennial of Mandela’s birth, is attempting to retell his story. Instead, with an inspiring self-awareness, it presents simply a compilation of moments that greatly symbolise the man who will forever be Tata Madiba in not only South Africa but the world over.
Each of these 100 nuggets of memory show Mandela at different stages in his life, testimony to how highly he regarded the whole picture. We learn of Mandela the child, the lawyer, the freedom fighter, the husband, the father, the prisoner, the educator, the free man, the president, the philanthropist and it seems most poignantly, the friend and ally. More importantly, these moments remind us of Mandela the person. Not a god, or a flawless hero, but a person encompassing the nuances of humanity who steadfastly and selflessly stood for what he believed in, in matters as large as dismantling Apartheid, to matters as small as helping his chef’s children learn their colours.
I read it cover to cover, but it could also be read by opening any page and reading one of any of these precious Madiba moments.