Nelson Mandela’s “long walk to freedom” will end with a book titled “Dare Not Linger“‚ to be published in October.
Mandela wrote 70‚000 words of the manuscript but the book was completed by the poet and novelist Mandla Langa‚ who worked with Mandela’s account and archived material.
“I was really aware of the weight of the kind of person he was and the need for his voice to shine through as much as possible in the writing‚” Langa told The Guardian on Friday.
“(Mandela) had written something like 70‚000 words‚ which in other situations would qualify as a fully-fledged manuscript. But there was still a lot more he wanted to write.”
Langa told The Guardian that he was determined to prevent Mandela’s words from “being overwhelmed by my own interventions”.
“I was really aware of the weight of the kind of person he was and the need for his voice to shine through as much as possible in the writing.”
Georgina Morley‚ Langa’s editor at Macmillan‚ said the book was a first-hand insight into Mandela’s presidency. “It’s the closest that you will ever get to a true autobiographical sequel to ‘Long Walk to Freedom’‚” she said.
“Mandela took notes of every meeting he attended‚ in his own hand. They’re all there in the archive‚ so Mandla’s drawn on all that to flesh out the narrative.
“What’s fascinating … is seeing how extraordinarily clever and skilful Mandela was at making democracy stick. However flawed this present government is‚ however difficult the last few years have been‚ South Africa is still a democracy. The fact that he pulled it off has been astonishing.”
“Dare Not Linger” also dispelled some myths‚ she told The Guardian. “He wasn’t a nice‚ coy grandfather in a flowery shirt who left the difficult business to everyone else. He got stuck in.”
Morley said Langa was the ideal person to complete Mandela’s work. Born in 1950‚ he went into exile in the 1970s and was the ANC’s cultural representative in London.
“He brings an acute understanding of South Africa‚ and of South African politics‚ as well as what it was like to be black under apartheid. Many of the accounts we already have of this time are written by commentators who are white‚” she said.
The foreword to “Dare Not Linger” is written by Mandela’s third wife‚ Graça Machel