Writer and journalist, Mandla Langa has fulfilled the wishes of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela and his widow Graça Machel by co-authoring and publishing a full account of Mandela's tenure as President of South Africa through the newly released Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years.
Langa made use of draft, notes and a wealth of archival material to complete the sequel to 'A Long Walk to Freedom'.
Langa says the book was left incomplete owing to Mandela's busy schedule and later his health taking a toll. He says the book went to the publishers in March 2016 and he picked it up in June, continuing off where Mandela had written close to 70 000 words.
It needed a write to contextualise it, to use archival material to make it live to make it readable adds Langa.
My role was to help complete it, in a sense that there were so many areas that still needed to be dealt with.— Mandla Langa, Journalist, author and writer
Langa explains that the archives, records from various sources, including Machel played an extensive role in piecing together the book.
Langa tells 702 host Azania Mosaka that writing the book was quite an enormous task as he had to tell the story of one of the world's most celebrated icons. It was a labour of love expresses Langa.
He stresses the need to note and take into consideration the era in which Mandela lead South Africa before a time when many began calling him a 'sell out'.
The choices that were made at the time were reflecting the realities of the time. I know that a lot of self-styled revolutionaries who are given to revisioning history would say that Madiba sold out or that generation sold out.— Mandla Langa, Journalist, author and writer
They should not wear today's lenses to look at yesterday. They use yesterday's eyes to look at what was happening then.— Mandla Langa, Journalist, author and writer
Langa goes on to say Mandela goes to great lengths to comment on the economic circumstances he found South Africa in.
We must not forget that South Africa was a wasteland, politically and economically - after the coffers at National Treasury were emptied out, says Langa adding that the country was operating on a huge deficit.
Graça Machel told me Madiba was always trying to gain consensus, even from people who were very difficult. In maintaining that consensus he really didn't want to humiliate some people, for example, FW. De Klerk. He always worked on the basis that those people represent constituencies and to humiliate them in public would be to humiliate those constituencies. But at the end of the day, he would chide them when they met.— Mandla Langa, Journalist, author and writer
Langa hopes people reading the book will walk away knowing that Mandela was a builder of a nation, someone who wanted South Africa to be a better country and return to its greatness.
Mandla Langa was born in 1950 in Durban, South Africa. After being arrested in 1976, he went into exile and has lived in Botswana, Mozambique and Angola, as well as Hungary, Zambia and the United Kingdom, where he was the ANC’s Cultural Representative. A writer and journalist, he was the first South African to be awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing and has been a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the New Nation. He is also the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the African Region.
Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa will be published in hardback, ebook and audio on 19th October 2017.
Mandla Langa's biography was provided by Pan Macmillan.
For more on the book by Mandla Langa and Nelson Mandela listen to clip below: