Zazi, Ziwelene & Zindzi Mandela and Sean Qualls
Lincoln Children’s Books
Nelson Mandela is my all time hero and I was thrilled to see this picture book published in honour of the 100th anniversary of his birth (July 18th 1918).
It takes the form of a dialogue between Mandela’s great grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene and their Grandma Zindzi – his daughter, after the children discover a photograph of Grandad Mandela.
“Can you tell us about him again?” they ask and a discussion ensues with Zindzi Mandela answering the children’s questions.
It’s an earnest discussion during which we, and the children, learn of South Africa’s recent history, about what it was like to be a child of apartheid (“But why did the white people start making everybody’s lives sad?” … “Did they make your lives sad too?”)
and about the role the family and in particular Mandela played in ending the apartheid regime. “Grandad was fighting for us all to be equal.” she says in response to Zazi’s “Why did Grandad go to jail?”
The fight was one that continued throughout the 27 long years Mandela was a prisoner, both by himself and others who carried on the fight for the equality he believed in, and for freedom.
The penultimate question “Do you know what ubuntu means?” comes from Grandma Zindzi who goes on to explain “It means ‘I am because we all are’.”
A powerful unifying thought that encapsulates Mandela’s legacy to us all wherever we are, a legacy that embodies service to his people and forgiveness.
Qualls’ illustrations rendered in acrylics, collage and pencil are absolutely superb embodying in turn, love,
hope, brutality (by the police), protest, joy,
family pride, diplomacy and more.
Powerful, inspiring, intensely moving and a wonderful tribute to an amazing man; (it brought tears to the eyes of this reviewer), this is a book for everyone who wants to pay tribute to the icon of equality and peace that is Nelson Mandela and surely that is all of us, young and not so young.