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Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#188]
Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#188]
  • Focuses on how the view of Mandela as an 'icon' has had a shaping influence on studies of Mandela
  • Introduces humanist and decolonial perspectives on Mandela and asks what the costs of his special charisma were for his country
  • Weaves together both international and national perspectives on Mandela, looking at how he appeared as a citizen and politician to his countrymen and women, and at how he at the same time presided as a towering mythic figure on the international stage

New to this Edition:

  • This second edition reviews the earlier symbolic reading and reconsiders controversial aspects of Mandela's legacy in its light

A pathbreaking analysis of the relationship between Mandela the myth, and Mandela the historical figure, looking at the way images, stories, and politics have been combined to create the iconic image of Mandela that we know today.

Boehmer explores the long trajectory of Mandela's life, explaining first the historical and political context of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and then the post-apartheid period of difficult reconciliation, including the shifts and changes in Mandela's reputation since the millennium.

This innovative postcolonial reflection takes on board the more critical revisionist literature on Mandela that has emerged since 2015, looking at responses to his death in 2013, and the 2018 commemorations of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The first edition set a trend in scholarship on Mandela by reading his character and achievements through the lens of his influences, interests, and leading ideas. The second edition extends this focus with a far-reaching critical look at meanings of reconciliation and Mandela's ethic of reciprocity.


1: Mandela: story and symbol
2: Scripting a life: the early years
3: Growth of a national icon: later years
4: Influences and interactions
5: Sophiatown sophisticate
6: Masculine performer
7: Spectres in the prison garden
8: Mandela's legacy

About the author: 

Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, FRSL FRHistS
Elleke Boehmer started her career lecturing in English and postcolonial literature at the Universities of Exeter and Leeds. In 2000 she moved to a chair in colonial and postcolonial literature at Nottingham Trent University and in 2004 and took up the Hildred Carlile chair in English at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2019 Boehmer was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, UK. She is an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford.

Product details

ISBN : 9780192893444

Elleke Boehmer
240 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Oct 2023
Very Short Introductions
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Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#188]

Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#188]

Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#188]