S. Africa Honors Mandela With Opus, For Clinging to Life

 At home
and on his deathbed, Nelson Mandela is being honored with an opus that includes
new material chronicling the life and times of the anti-apartheid icon, it was
announced Tuesday in Johannesburg.

And it’s
no ordinary opus.
Nelson Mandela Opus” will measure more than 19 inches-by-19 inches and weigh 37
kilograms (81.5 pounds), according to SouthAfrica.info.
half the material in the book has never been seen before, said Opus Media
CEO Karl Fowler, according to NewsChannel24.com.
ailing Mandela is not doing well but is continuing to put up a courageous fight
from his “deathbed,” family members told the South African Broadcasting Corp.,
according to  ABCNews.
Makaziwe Mandela told SABC: “Tata is still with us, strong, courageous. Even,
for a lack of a better word … on his ‘deathbed’ he is teaching us lessons;
lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance.”
The opus
will tell Mandela’s story in a unique and definitive way, SouthAfrica.info reported,
featuring the finest writers and images displayed on an unprecedented scale.
It will
pay tribute to Madiba in the year of his 95th birthday, with publication
scheduled to coincide with South Africa’s 20 years of democracy in 2014.
10,000 full-sized copies will be sold worldwide, with millions more condensed
versions mass produced.
The opus
is another way of taking Tata’s legacy to people all over the world,” said
Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba Mandela, at the announcement of the project at the
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, according to SouthAfrica.info. “There can never
be enough ways of telling his story.”
Media, Matchworld and Africa Rising collaborated with the Nelson Mandela Centre
of Memory and the House of Mandela to publish the “The Nelson Mandela Opus.”
Journalist Ryland Fisher, a former Cape Times editor and author of “Race,” is
editing the epic publication.
of books have been written about Mandela and the topics are almost
inexhaustible, Fisher said. The challenge is what to leave out.
“This is
the biggest tribute that you can ever think of… and part of the challenge we
had was to ensure that the unique thing about the book not only be its size,
but the unique elements.”
went to great lengths to find untold stories of peoples’ encounters with
Mandela, according to SouthAfrica.info. “For instance, the
chapter on the day of Madiba’s release is unique because we spoke to various
people involved in different parts of his release,” Fisher said. ”We also
spoke to someone who was in the house with Madiba before he came out, we spoke
to the person who drove his car, we even spoke to another guy who walked around
on the Grand Parade with a gun hidden under his coat, looking for potential
people who might want to take Madiba out.

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“When we
did the interviews with family members, I really thought we would get a
sanitized version of history, and people would not be open and honest with us.
What we’ve got was actually amazing – we got the family members speaking, warts
and all.”
at the launch of opus” were Mandela’s wife Graça Machel,
daughter Makaziwe, grandson Ndaba and Mandela’s praise singer, poet
Zolani Mkiva, according to NewsChannel24.com.
African photojournalist Benny Gool is the opus photographer.
“We will
end up with a minimum of 2,000 images,” Gool said. “What is nice about this
book is that you can display images like I’ve never seen in a book.”
The opus
foreword will be written by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. It will also
feature contributions by Bill Gates, Naomi Campbell and Sir Richard
Branson. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Madiba’s fellow Nobel
Peace laureate, F.W. de Klerk will also add their voices to the opus.
spent almost three months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted in June
with a recurring lung infection, ABCNews reported. He was discharged in
September and has been receiving home-based medical attention since then.
condition has consistently been described as “critical but stable.”
photographic portrait of Mandela was bought by a private art collector in New
York for $200,000 – the highest price ever paid for a local
portrait, according to a report on Dawn.com.
will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital under construction in
Johannesburg, and to the World Wildlife Fund, Dawn.com reported.
portrait, by photographer Adrian Steirn, shows Mandela’s face reflected in a
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“I wanted
Madiba to hold a mirror so that we could see a man reflecting on his life,”
Steirn said in the report. “As he reflects on his life, we reflect on his
legacy and our future.”

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