Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela

The international best-selling autobiography of the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom is published by Folio as a striking collector’s edition featuring 41 pages of photographs and an evocative new binding.

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‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it’

  1. Barack Obama

Politician, campaigner, humanitarian, family man and descendent of the Thembu royal house, Nelson Mandela is, above all, remembered as one of the world’s great moral leaders. In Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela tells the story of his extraordinary life in his own words, from his childhood in the Eastern Cape, to his political awakening, activism and incarceration, and finally his release, 27 years later, into the dawn of a new South Africa in which he would play a pivotal role. Determined to help his country heal and look forward as a unified nation, Mandela was the leader South Africa had been waiting for, and whom the world embraced. His memoir is an extraordinary social and historical record of this turbulent time and one of the most important non-fiction works of the late 20th century. This exceptional collector’s edition includes an expansive collection of photographs, printed map endpapers and an evocative binding featuring an anti-apartheid rally poster by renowned graphic designer David King.

Bound in printed and blocked cloth with a design by David King

Set in Legacy Serif

768 pages

Portrait frontispiece plus 40 pages of black & white photographs

Printed map endpapers

Blocked slipcase

10˝ x 6¾˝

Fostered by a Thembu chief while still a young boy, Mandela’s future as a tribal councillor had already been decided for him. However, as his political awareness grew, he imagined a different future; his law degree and growing affiliation with the African National Congress (ANC) gave him the knowledge and tenacity to dedicate his life to the race equality struggle in his homeland. The unimaginable horrors endured during the bitter fight against apartheid are all here, from the daily degradation, arrests and intimidation, to the dangerous years of underground activity and, finally, Mandela’s trial and life sentence for sabotage. It was while serving the greater part of his 27-year incarceration at the brutal Robben Island prison that Mandela clandestinely drafted his memoir. Fellow imprisoned ANC members meticulously transcribed and smuggled out the manuscript, while Mandela buried the original pages in the prison garden. These were eventually discovered and confiscated, but by then the transcript was safely in London, awaiting Mandela’s release.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.

Long Walk to Freedom is a political memoir like no other. In between the heartbreaking history of a country torn apart by institutionalised racial segregation, there lies a human story: a man divided by loyalties and contradictions, his path to greatness littered with mistakes and regrets, and his family’s suffering as his dedication to the cause grew. When Mandela was finally released from prison, the world watched closely to see what type of man emerged. He was dignified and strong, working with President F. W. de Klerk to bring about a peaceful end to the apartheid regime, for which the two men were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The following year, Mandela led the ANC to victory in South Africa’s first fully representative democratic election.

Working with image archives from the paperback and illustrated editions of Mandela’s memoir, we have curated a revised selection of 41 black-and-white photographs, published as a collection in this format for the first time. Prominent South African photographers such as Peter Magubane and Jürgen Schadeberg supplied original images for high-resolution reproduction, while the frontispiece portrait is from Allan Tannenbaum’s personal archive: an iconic image from Mandela’s 1994 inauguration. The map of South Africa is also included, carefully redrawn for our edition and reproduced as spectacular endpapers. Finally, the striking new binding features an anti-apartheid rally poster, designed by David King and held by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) was a lawyer, activist, prisoner and the first black president of South Africa. Born in the Eastern Cape, Mandela attended the University of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg. He joined the African National Congress in 1943, and was appointed head of the ANC’s Transvaal branch. He led a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government and was arrested and imprisoned in 1962. He served 27 years in prison and was released in 1990. Mandela was president of the ANC from 1991 until 1999, and worked with F. W. de Klerk to bring about an end to apartheid – efforts that led to both men being jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. In the 1994 multiracial general election Mandela led the ANC to power, becoming the country’s first black head of state. He declined a second presidential term in 1999, but remained a prominent activist and elder statesman working to combat poverty and HIV/AIDS. He died at his home in Johannesburg in 2013.


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