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Read Barack Obama’s Foreword to Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself (Plus: Podcast with Time‘s Richard Stengel)

Conversations Shoppers

Nelson MandelaFarrar, Strauss and Giroux, the US publishers of Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself, have made President Barack Obama’s foreword available on their homepage. Here’s one historically significant figure on another:

Like many people around the world, I came to know of Nelson Mandela from a distance, when he was imprisoned on Robben Island. To so many of us, he was more than just a man – he was a symbol of the struggle for justice, equality, and dignity in South Africa and around the globe. His sacrifice was so great that it called upon people everywhere to do what they could on behalf of human progress.

In the most modest of ways, I was one of those people who tried to answer his call. The first time that I became politically active was during my college years, when I joined a campaign on behalf of divestment, and the effort to end apartheid in South Africa. None of the personal obstacles that I faced as a young man could compare to what the victims of apartheid experienced every day, and I could only imagine the courage that had led Mandela to occupy that prison cell for so many years. But his example helped awaken me to the wider world, and the obligation that we all have to stand up for what is right. Through his choices, Mandela made it clear that we did not have to accept the world as it is – that we could do our part to seek the world as it should be.

Time‘s Richard Stengel, who wrote Mandela’s biography Long Walk to Freedom alongside the president, interviewed Mandela on certain lessons learned whilst in prison. Here’s a gripping audio excerpt of their conversation – tune into the voice of Nelson Mandela:

Podcast: Nelson Mandela speaks to Richard Stengel

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Photo courtesy Nelson Mandela Foundation