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Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years

Review

Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years

Four years after his death, Nelson Mandela comes back from the grave to inspire us with his words and the history surrounding a post-apartheid South Africa, as well as the time he served as the first black president of South Africa.

Following the publication of his beloved autobiography, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, and as he was nearing the end of his presidential term, Mandela began working on a manuscript talking about his period in office. He ended up writing about 70,000 words, or 10 chapters, before abandoning the project. Here, Mandla Langa, winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the former ANC’s (African National Congress) cultural representative in London, steps in as a co-author and helps the reader understand the historical context surrounding Mandela’s rise to the presidency and South Africa’s politics, using his original draft of “The Presidential Years” (the intended title), detailed notes he made during the events of his presidential term, and previously unseen material.

"Nelson Mandela’s actions to reunify a torn country are surely remembered and won’t be forgotten anytime soon."

In this day and age, it is easy to forget the significant hold that apartheid had on the government, politics and culture of a country still in the midst of recovering from centuries of colonialism and government-enforced racism. One cannot deny the amount of progress that South Africa has made in 25 years. But what would it feel like to have the rebirth of a country and the initiator of better race relations weighing on the shoulders of someone who had spent most of his life resisting segregation for 50 years?

Fortunately, for those who may be unfamiliar with South African politics and other important parts of its culture, there are multiple appendices that feature discussions of notable people, places, events and organizations, as well as a map of the country and a timeline from Mandela’s release in 1990 to the end of his term in 1999.

DARE NOT LINGER incorporates Mandela and Langa’s combined texts into a narrative dealing with a leader --- and, by extension, a country --- emphasizing the reconciliation of unity in the face of separateness and pain and how it thereby affects their future. Those who read LONG WALK TO FREEDOM and want a glimpse at Mandela’s unfinished work will be slightly disappointed that the rest of the book doesn’t follow a more autobiographical flow. Keep in mind that time and death have led to this conclusion, but that is beside the point.

Being an advocate of peace is not about surrounding yourself with flowers and meditation. It’s about taking the steps to heal wounds while admitting there will be mistakes along the way and how you deal with those issues that will matter in the end. Nelson Mandela’s actions to reunify a torn country are surely remembered and won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Reviewed by Gabriella Mayer on November 10, 2017

Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years
by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa

  • Publication Date: October 24, 2017
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction, Politics
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • ISBN-10: 0374134715
  • ISBN-13: 9780374134716