Ex-Mandela colleagues aim to complete "Long Walk to Freedom" sequel

Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:10pm EST
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By Ed Cropley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Former colleagues of Nelson Mandela are working to complete a book that South Africa's first black president began writing shortly before he left office as a sequel to his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom", his archivist said on Monday.

In the first draft of "The Presidential Years", dated October 16, 1998 and seen by Reuters at the Nelson Mandela Foundation archives, the anti-apartheid hero writes of the hopes, fears and fragilities of liberation movements the world over.

Two decades after the end of white minority rule, some sections may make uncomfortable reading for the present leaders of Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) and President Jacob Zuma, who is embroiled in a scandal over a 206 million rand ($20 million) taxpayer-funded upgrade to his private home.

"History never stops to play tricks even with seasoned world-famous freedom fighters," Mandela wrote after outlining the struggle of successful liberation movements to introduce clean government and narrow the gap between rich and poor.

"Frequently, erstwhile revolutionaries have easily succumbed to greed and the tendency to divert public resources for personal enrichment ultimately overwhelmed them," continued Mandela, who is now 95 and in poor health.

"By amassing vast personal wealth, and by betraying the noble objectives which made them famous, they virtually deserted the masses of the people and joined the former oppressors, who enriched themselves by mercilessly robbing the poorest of the poor," he wrote, without naming anyone.Nelson Mandela

Since Mandela left office in 1999 after just one term, South Africa has slid down the rankings in global graft watchdog Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index from 38th in 2001 to 69th last year.

After 19 years of ANC rule, Africa's biggest economy also remains one of the world's most unequal societies. While many South Africans still endure deep poverty, unemployment and bad housing, some senior ANC officials are prospering.   Continued...

Nelson Mandela laughs with journalists and performers participating in the second 46664 concert near the small Southern Cape province town of George. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings