A portrait of Madiba as a young man

2010-09-22 00:00

HERE’S a book that paints a picture of the young life of the world’s greatest statesman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. The book tells a story of the Mandela who never had time for his family, a Mandela who supposedly had more time for comrades.

Having qualified to practise as a lawyer, he joined the Mandela & Tambo law firm with its offices situated at Chancellor House. Was he unfaithful to his first wife Evelyn, whose heart is said to have been broken by the fact that there was even very little financial support from Mandela?

That marriage ended and in came Winnie Madikizela as wife number two. Smith reveals that the “first family” (Evelyn’s) finally left Soweto to run a shop in rural Cofimvaba. He also says a lot about rumours that Mandela had a thing for female comrades. Unfortunately, no one will ever be able to confirm those allegations.

We are also made to question whether Mandela was a responsible young man: the book tells of the suffering of the children of the first family while Winnie’s are said to have had it easy. And the death of Mandela’s first-born son Makgato did not bring any relief to family affairs.

Young Mandela is an interesting read leading to an understanding that everybody has their fair share of scandals.

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