He is not mentioned in The Pickup, nor is the word apartheid to be found there. Yet the post-apartheid South Africa that we are reading about came to be because of this man. And because of our author. Nelson Mandela turns 89 today. Many events are scheduled this week to celebrate and honor this anti-apartheid activist who lead the African National Congress (ANC) and later became the President of South Africa. To read more about his extraordinary life and accomplishments, see the ANC biographies, or go to the PBS Frontline site for The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela.
When Mandela was freed from prison in 1990, Nadine Gordimer was one of the first persons that he wished to see. You simply must have a look at Nadine Gordimer and the South African Experience and read how these two Nobel Prize winners have shaped the destiny of the country that they share. It is truly inspirational reading. Individuals can change the world. (The picture of the two of them together is from November 2006 when Gordimer presented Mandela with an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience award.)
"Mr. Mandela, all of us at Cornell want to wish you a very Happy Birthday."