Thursday, October 31, 2019

Mandela 100


Michael - Thursday

Today Bouchercon kicks off in Dallas and many of us have panels and other events. Maybe we'll see you there. In the meanwhile, we have the traditional hiatus during which we repeat pieces we think you might like to see again.

With all the political chaos going on around us at the moment, I thought we might like to be reminded of the life of a truly remarkable and principled man.

Nelson Mandela returns to Robben Island after being elected
president of South Africa
So much has been written about Nelson Mandela that it seems redundant to add anything more. Pat and I went to the FotoZA exhibition of photographs for the hundredth anniversary of his birth with some reservations. But how could one not allow oneself to be reminded of this life of commitment to a cause and to justice that had to take precedence over everything else, including his own needs and desires and those of his family? There would be no compromise – until it allowed him to move to his ultimate goal.

The exhibition gives few new perspectives, yet pulls us once again into the life of this extraordinary man who spent nearly thirty years in prison yet held to his principles, and then – harder still – spent five years as president of South Africa and still never compromised them.

Two feature of the exhibition struck us - unexpected amongst the flood of bitter pictures. The most moving was a display of the calendars that he was allowed in his prison cell. Year after year with notes, appointments and comments. Just before he was transferred to Victor Verster prison in Paarl and then released, he noted scarily high blood pressures. But most of the annotations referred to precious visits and meetings that the authorities dealt out like scraps to a dog. As the years passed, they became more frequent, yet every one was a cherished connection to the outside world.

The second was a display of posters from around the world calling for his release, the release of all South Africa's political prisoners, and for the abolition of apartheid. Most are from European countries sympathetic at the time to the ANC, and many are lithographs - crude by modern standards - yet their message is strong across the years.

It was a very moving experience. Anyone who is able to see it should jump at the opportunity.

Hard labour in prison.
A less serious poster - the makeover
Artist's impression of Mandela before he was released.
There had been no photographs of him for many years.
Mandela's letters from prison. A new comprehensive collection offers many insights.
From: The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela


We’ll be at BOUCHERCON in Dallas this week. It looks like an exciting meeting and we’re looking forward to these panels!

Thursday, October 31:

11:00 – 12:00 PanelThe Novel Stands Alone
  Kendra Elliot, JT Ellison, LS Hawker, Stanley Trollip, Sheri Lewis Wohl
  Participating Moderator: Laura Benedict

Sunday, November 3:

8:30 – 9:30 Panel: Detectives Overseas
  Ian Hamilton, Ragnar Jonasson, Michael Sears, Jeffrey Siger
  Moderator: Nancy Tingley

After Bouchercon we’re on tour. Please join us somewhere if you can!

Tuesday, November 5: 7:00 pm Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Scottsdale, Arizona, with Solari Gentill and Tim Maleeny

Wednesday, November 6: 4:30 pm Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour, Stillwater, Minnesota. Contact Valley Booksellers at (651) 430-3385 for tickets

Saturday, November 9: 10:00 Private book club event

Saturday, November 9: 1:00 pm Barnes and Noble, HarMar, St Paul, Minnesota

Tuesday, November 12: 7:00 pm Mystery to Me, Madison, Wisconsin

Wednesday, November 13: 7:00 pm Centuries and Sleuths, Forest Park, Illinois

Saturday, November 16: 10:00 Nokomis Public Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monday, November 18: 7:00 pm Barnes and Noble, Galleria, Minneapolis, Minnesota. More details to follow.

1 comment: