Mandela Month: The World That Made Mandela

The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009, recognising Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”.

The idea of Mandela Day was inspired by Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in 2008 when he said: “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.”

As ‘Mandela Month’ opens, we’re putting the spotlight on a few books and artworks that commemorate and celebrate the life and times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

First of these is The World That Made Mandela (2000) by Luli Callinicos, which identifies the people and places that shaped this iconic figure.

Luli Callinicos is well known for her work on the South African working class, which includes a trilogy of books, namely Gold and Workers (1981), Working Life: Factories, Townships and Popular Culture (1987), which won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, and A Place in the City: the Rand on the Eve of Apartheid (1993).

In The World That Made Mandela, Luli Callinicos – one of South Africa’s eminent historians – uses a thousand images of past and present to move the reader from rural villages to bustling cities and townships, from Johannesburg to Cape Town to Robben Island tracing Mandela’s footsteps through public life and private struggle.

This book illuminates much of dark South African history while reacquainting readers with familiar spaces seen through a different lens. .

This extraordinary blend of geography, photography and history detailing the life of Nelson Mandela is available from David Krut Bookstores, R525.