Paperback / softback
April 16, 2002
1.71 Pounds (US)
$28.95 USD, £18.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Reflections in Prison

Voices From the South African Liberation Struggle

Edited by Mac Maharaj
Foreword by Desmond Tutu
In 1976, while imprisoned on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela secretly wrote the bulk of his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. The manuscript was to be smuggled out by fellow prisoner Mac Maharaj on his release later that year. Maharaj also urged Mandela and other prominent political prisoners to write essays on South Africa's political future. These were smuggled out with Mandela's autobiography and are now published for the first time.

Written by Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, and four other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement, these essays provide a rare view of their thinking at a critical point in the liberation struggle, on the eve of the 1976 Soweto Uprising. The leaders describe their philosophies, strategies, and hopes. They debate such crucial issues as violent versus nonviolent forms of struggle, diversity and unity, the ideological challenge of the Black Consciousness movement, and how to accommodate different interpretations of African nationalism.

The book begins with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a contextualizing introduction by Maharaj. Then come two essays by Mandela and one each by Sisulu, Kathrada, Mbeki, Billy Nair, John Pokela, Eddie Daniels and Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo. Each essay is preceded by a short biography of the author, a description of his life in prison, and a pencil sketch by a black South African artist.

About the Authors

Mac Maharaj's life brings together many of the strands of the struggle for democracy in South Africa. He has been an activist, a detainee, a political prisoner, an exile, an underground commander, a negotiator in the constitutional talks, and Minister of Transport in South Africa's first democratic government.


"As I read these fascinating essays, I was struck so forcibly by the importance of memory, of history, for both the individual and the community. . . . I pray that our people and especially our children will, by reading this collection of essays, remember the very high price that has been paid to achieve our freedom."—Desmond Tutu, from the foreword

"It is quite salutary here to see major figures dealing with history in the making-without the benefits of hindsight. All of this is of great interest, and it preserves graphically for the record the living textures of political life at an especially critical moment; one sees also how the seeds of the 'miracle' of 1994 were planted and nurtured under very difficult circumstances much earlier."—Stephen Clingman, author of Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary

"The most urgent problem facing us is that of unity... there is a wide difference between constructive criticism that will pave the way to a consensus and mere invective that tends to harden the differences." So begins Nelson Mandela's "Clear the Obstacles and Confront the Enemy," an essay on strategies and "stumbling blocks" for the antiapartheid movement. It's one of the nine pieces in Reflections in Prison: Voices from the South African Liberation Struggle, a collection of essays, mostly about the future of the resistance movement, by South African activists written in the Robben Island prison. The book is edited by Mac Maharaj, a founding member of the antiapartheid movement, and includes a foreword by Desmond Tutu."—Publishers Weekly
University of Massachusetts Press

9781558493421 : reflections-in-prison-maharaj-tutu
Paperback / softback
274 Pages
$28.95 USD

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