Item 1532 - Address by Mr Nelson Mandela at the launching of the first series of comics aimed at reaching young readers

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ZA COM MR-S-1532


Address by Mr Nelson Mandela at the launching of the first series of comics aimed at reaching young readers


  • 2005-10-28 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Launching of first series of comics aimed at young readers

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  • English

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We thank you for attending this function today. As you know, we are launching the first in a series of comics aimed at reaching young readers. It is hard for me to say a lot about it. I am not an expert on the subject of comics. And it would be unwise for me to discuss myself as the main character in the comic. We human beings tend to exaggerate most when we are talking about ourselves. So, I will leave exaggeration to historians and other experts.
Now, my Chief Executive John Samuel tells me that he is an expert on comics. And he advises me that they have three very important qualities:
Firstly, for those, like me, whose eyesight is not what it was, there is the option of simply looking at the pictures.
Secondly, you know that you are really famous the day that you discover that you have become a comic character.
And thirdly, young people read comics. The hope is that the elementary reading of comics will lead them to the joy of reading good books. That joy has been mine all my life, and it is one I wish for all South Africans. If the comic reaches new readers, then the project will have been worthwhile.
But we believe that all readers will find something of value in this comic. We thank Anglo American for their generous sponsorship, and are sure that their generosity will be well rewarded by the product being put into our hands. The artwork in the comic is of a high standard, and we congratulate the team of young artists who worked on it. They have expressed very well the themes and narratives chosen by the historians and writers who guided them. Three themes in particular are given prominence "tradition", "community" and "story". And it is so that these themes, or values, played an important role in shaping my early life. Indeed, they have been shaping influences throughout my life.
Let me recount a story to illustrate this. Recently a friend of mine pointed out that when I first went to prison the concept of "non-sexism" was hardly known, and yet when I was released 27 years later I was a champion of women's rights. Then he asked: "How did you catch up with the world so fast?" (As you can see, my friends enjoy asking me difficult questions.) The answer, of course, is not simple. One of the few advantages of prison life is that one has the time to read. In prison we read as widely as the circumstances allowed, and we discovered literature which opened our minds and forced us to re-examine some of our views. Prison also gave us time for reflection. And I thought much about the history of the place where I was born and brought up Tembu land. As I reflected on Tembu history,
I was reminded of the many women who played a prominent role in that history. I remembered their stories. I remembered many stories of women having taken leadership positions.
All of us are experts in listening to stories. All of us have the POTENTIAL to be experts in telling stories and in reading stories. It is our hope that the comic we are launching today will promote this understanding.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 03/03/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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