Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Anthony Sampson biography on Nelson Mandela

In 2oo1, I read the Anthony Sampson biography on Nelson Mandela. Tit mentions the existence of Sonny’s ‘Bible.’ From that moment on, I was intrigued by the theatrical possibilities of this ‘Bible.’
In 2oo6, the ‘Bible’ left South Africa for the first time to be a part of the ‘Complete Works’ Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. I viewed the ‘Bible’ for the first time there and from then on, I knew that I needed to do this project.
Since 199o, South Africa has intrigued me. I see in it huge potential as a young & struggling democracy. After visiting South Africa and, in particular, Robben Island for the first time in 2oo3, I fell in love with the people, the landscape and the culture. I hold the country in high regard because of the difficulties it has faced and are currently attempting to overcome.
My South African friend and fellow researcher, who grew up in Soweto, said that he was so proud to be working on the interview project with me because of what it meant to him as a South African man. When we interviewed his leaders, he could not help to hide his absolute glee and respect that he had for these men. The pride welled up in his chest when he spoke with them. That pride & respect is of huge import to me as a human being. Through the Phase 1 research, I found Shakespeare’s work to be an expression of the character of these former political prisoners and something that holds great resonance within them. I was told by one former political prisoner that, in order to be taken seriously, a South African leader must quote Shakespeare in each speech he gives. This impact of Shakespeare’s words when read by men under the oppression of Apartheid reflects its resonance beyond the English culture.