The Spiritual Mandela: Faith and Religion in the Life of Nelson Mandela

The Spiritual Mandela: Faith and Religion in the Life of Nelson Mandela


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Dennis Cruywagen

In the first book of its kind, an acclaimed South African journalist and former parliamentary spokesperson for the ANC shares how Nelson Mandela balanced his Christian faith with his political views, exploring how the beloved leader reconciled his own beliefs with the hard truth that religion had often been used as a tool to oppress his people.

♦ "Insightful. . . a nuanced understanding of how faith influenced the renowned civil rights activist." 
 Publishers Weekly, starred review

". . .illuminating and an essential addition to studies of Mandela's life and work."

Nelson Mandela revealed nothing about his personal religious beliefs in his writings or in his public pronouncements. But those who were close to him know that he held Christian views. At his request, the final components of his funeral followed the Methodist service.

Acclaimed journalist Dennis Cruywagen traces the spiritual component of Mandela's life, from his youth in a traditional Thembu village to his education at Wesleyan and Methodist mission schools to his time as an activist to his period on Robben Island and the years thereafter. Based on interviews with some of Mandela's close colleagues, such as Ahmed Kathrada, as well as priests and other religious figures with whom he interacted, this book unearths an unknown dimension of one of recent history's most respected men.


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