How many biographies can one man inspire? The jury's still out on this one. Books by or about Nelson Mandela are a growth industry. Here are snap reviews of some of the classics.
Madiba's autobiography was begun in prison, worked on for several months after his release in 1990 and has been issued in a range of volumes - including a shortened, simplified version,referred to in the trade as "A Short Walk to Freedom" but actually entitled "The Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom" (Little, Brown). The full-strength version is available in one (fat) volume or two, from Abacus.
Anthony Sampson, former editor of Drum magazine, is the author of a biography simply called "Mandela" (Harpercollins), which brings the story up to date - or at least up to 1999, and includes Madiba's time as President of South Africa.
Bringing history and geography together, Luli Callinicos' coffee-table-sized book is filled with archival and contemporary images telling Mandela's story through the many places associated with his life. From his birthplace in Qunu to the Old Fort in Johannesburg, where he was held prisoner (and which is now the site of the Constitutional Court), from Soweto to Mpumalanga, the images provide a wonderful historical context for South Africa today, combining to form a unique "heritage trail".
"Nelson Mandela: a Life in Cartoons" by Stephen Francis and cartoonist Rico (New Africa Books) documents an extraordinary life in over 150 extraordinary cartoons.
"Mandela from another angle: In the Words of Nelson Mandela" by Jennifer Crwys-Williams is a compilation of aphorisms drawn from Madiba's speeches, interviews, books and court reports. Also reissued as "The Thoughts of Nelson Mandela".