Monday, July 07, 2008

Two excellent online Mandela & Apartheid multimedia resources

I'm a great believer in the power of the internet. Yet, I'm often still surprised at the jewels it offers when I bump into some new resource - freely available to anyone with a (preferably broadband) internet connection. The latest are two excellent resources on Nelson Mandela and Apartheid. I'm sure there are many more.

Mandela: An Audio History

"A five-part radio series documenting the struggle against apartheid through rare sound recordings, the voice of Nelson Mandela himself, as well as those who fought with him, and against him.... An Audio History was originally broadcast on National Public Radio in the U.S. and SAfm in South Africa."

The Stories
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the five episodes sorted under the heading "The Stories". It is a grand narrative, well organised and told through recordings of radio broadcasts, interviews with anti-apartheid activists / politicians and liberation songs - amongst others. If you're familiar with South African historical and contemporary figures, you'll recognise many of them. Speakers and/or broadcasts are not introduced but rather flow seamlessly into each other. The listener is taken on a 50-year journey from 1994-1994. As with all attempts to convey history, not all perspectives are catered for throughout. But be that as it may, this is an impressive effort.

The People
Here you will find short biographies on the persons interviewed in The Stories section above.

Audio Timeline
This section provides a graphical time line of the events covered in the five audio episodes of The Stories. Very helpful if you are unfamiliar with South Africa's apartheid history and that of Nelson Mandela. A great refresher course if you think you know the history!

Nelson Mandela Media Centre (

This is a very slick, well packaged collection of information on Nelson Mandela. It is hosted on's site and I assume they put it together. It is in fact a work in progress as there seem to be more content on the way.

The speeches section provides transcripts for speeches by Mandela starting with an address to the ANC Youth League in 1951 up to an address by Mandela at the funeral of Adelaide Tambo in 2007. A very impressive collection indeed.

The video section mainly feature prominent South Africans sharing the impressions Mandela made on them through his life and personal encounters. Amongst others, it features Helen Suzman, George Bizos, Jay Naidoo, Ahmed Kathrada, Francois Pienaar and Penny Heyns. It also includes a couple of clips highlighting different aspects of Mandela's life and person.

As with the first site featured above, this one also features a very informative timeline of events in Mandela's life. The Biography section provides a summary of important fazes in his life. Finally a collection of audio slide shows rounds of News24's presentation. I hope that the current presentation is but a starting point for an even more comprehensive future library of information.