In December 2014, we marked a year since the passing of Nelson Mandela—a man who was as much myth as flesh and blood. With issue 116, we pay tribute to Mandela’s worldly attainments and to his otherworldly sainthood. To help us, we’ve assembled Mandela’s staunchest allies—for whom he approached saintliness—as well as his most entrenched critics. This issue features remembrances from Wole Soyinka, Xolela Mangcu, Pierre de Vos, and Adam Habib.
We also remember Mandela’s friend and anti-apartheid activist, Nadine Gordimer, by republishing her story “Some Monday for Sure” which first appeared in Transition 18. Other contributors consider the iconicity of Mandela—including his representations in films; the importance of boxing (and then, later, of prison) to his political career; his time studying with the revolutionary army in Algeria; his stance on children’s rights; and even his ill-fated trip to Miami. The issue concludes with reflections on how South Africans honored Mandela’s passing away from the limelight of his star-studded funeral. Whoever you think Mandela was—or wasn’t—Transition 116 is the new required reading.
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Featured Article: Robben Island University #OpenAccess
by Aaron Bady
Mandela was “the world's most famous (former) prisoner.” Bady explores how prison served as a necessary prerequisite for political leadership in much of post-colonial Africa.
Also, read six articles from the Transition archives related to the history of South Africa, apartheid, and Mandela.
Contributors: Jane Alexander, Aaron Bady, Warren Binford, Kurt Campbell, Hugo Canham, Marco Cianfanelli, Ernest Cole (1940-1990), Marvin Dunn, ESFP, Babak Fakhamzadeh, Samuel Fosso, Alejandro de la Fuente, Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014), Adam Habib, Nermine Hammam, Meghan Healy-Clancy, Abdeljalil Larbi Youcef, Christopher J. Lee, Xolela Mangcu, Brett Murray, Steven Nelson, Cedric Nunn, Sindiso Nyoni, Fabio do Prado, R2hox, Wole Soyinka, Gareth Steele, Paul Theroux, Charis Tsevis, Rebecca VanDiver, Pierre de Vos, Jonathan Wood.