A very special event which raised the profile of this beautiful book, and enabled children to have a voice.
It brought members of the Mandela family into South Africa House, in Trafalgar Square, London. The afternoon was full of significance. The happy family amidst a small group of 30 people, in dark oak panelled walls, of this diplomatic house visited by Nelson Mandela in 1996.
Nelson Mandela is a global icon of peace and forgiveness, a freedom fighter who spent 27 years in prison and went on to be President of South Africa. In 2018 he would have been 100 years old!
Zindzi Mandela, the youngest daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, talked about the need to write this book for children, seen in the eyes of children. Ziwelene and Zazi had questions about their great grandfather and the different world in which he was raised. The book gives a chance for answers to be given, which help in understanding some of the situation at that time.
Zindzi said she wanted to encourage all children to be involved in storytelling, as there is so much beautiful history in South Africa and in where children are today. She asked all the children to find themselves in words, to find their expression in words and she added,
“For many years as black South Africans we were not allowed to have a voice, but now we have a voice. And we won’t stop talking! And we won’t stop writing!”
The High Commissioner for South Africa, Thembi Tambo, spoke highly of the book and work of publishers Lincoln Children’s Books, and also of The Mandela Legacy, which supported the book and also supports many endeavours in enabling people to create, produce and live their lives.
“… I can’t imagine a better way to allow children to access information, on their terms. It allows children to discover, in a way that is comfortable for them.”
Thembi praised Zindzi for her struggles in life as a young child and how she had to internalise her fears and her anger and to support her children and grandchildren in this story of Nelson Mandela.
It was a real privilege for the Books Go Walkabout team to be part of this event. Our book review and blog has been widely read and we hope that it will enable a wider understanding of the struggles of Mandela and South Africa.
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Books go Walkabout is our international books and literacy project - connecting authors and illustrators with children and young people around the globe.
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