2010年11月，南非首位黑人总统曼德拉（Nelson Mandela）推出其回忆录《与自我的对话》（Conversations with Myself），以纪念其获释20年。他在书中写道，自己年轻时曾是一个集懦弱、犯罪和轻率于一身的乡下男孩，并且试图掩盖懦弱。书中收录了他的笔记、信件以及日记，27年铁窗生涯的记录，毫无保留地将一个“非圣贤”的曼德拉展现人前。
Nelson Mandela may well be the most admired human being alive. In fact, it's difficult to imagine who could compete with him for the title. He went from being prisoner to president, and in the process became an icon.
The most revealing are two notebooks with drafts of letters he wrote from Robben Island, South Africa's Alcatraz, where he was serving a life sentence for sabotage. He was allowed to send and receive one letter every six months. And the letters revealed that his passion for his wife Winnie never waned. “What a masterpiece!” he wrote, after she sent him a picture of herself. “The picture has aroused all the tender feelings in me and softened the grimness that is all around. It has sharpened my longing for you and our sweet and peaceful home.”
与自我对话 Conversations with Myself 最真情流露的是两本笔记，内有他在罗宾岛写的信件草稿；那是南非的恶魔岛，他因为颠覆国家罪被判在那里服无期徒刑。他获准每六个月寄收一封信。这些书信透露出他对太太云妮的爱从不曾退减。“真是一幅杰作！”在云妮给他寄去其照片后，他写道。“照片激起我心中的万般柔情，抚慰这周遭一切的冷酷。其加深了我对你，还有对我们和谐宁静的家的渴望。”
Winnie had become Mandela's voice on the outside and the apartheid regime came down on her with a vengeance. She was repeatedly thrown into jail and tortured. The struggle was now not only devastating their lives, their two young daughters had been effectively abandoned. Mandela was incredibly blunt about what awaited them. “My Darlings,” he wrote. “Once again, our beloved Mommy has been arrested and now she and Daddy are away in jail. You may live like orphans, without your own home and parents. You will get no birthday or Christmas parties, no presents or new dresses, no shoes or toys.”
He never doubted that the racist regime would be overthrown. So even back then, he started preparing. First move learn the language of the oppressor, Afrikaans.
The language of the enemy?
Mac Maharaj (Fellow Prisoner): And he said to me, “Mac, do you agree that we are now in a protracted war?” I said, “Yes.” He says, “You've got to understand the general on the other side. To understand him, you've got to know his language.”
The book contains defiant letters Mandela wrote to the authorities, reminding them that, as political prisoners, they had rights and should be treated with dignity. In response, he got a visit from a general, who was intent on putting Mandela in his place.
Mac: And he says to Mandela, “Mandela, you better remember you are a prisoner.” And in a very polite way he says to him, “General, you and I may be generals on the opposite side of this war. At some point, even if it is to accept the surrender from the other, we'll have to meet. And how we treat each other now, will determine how we interact at that moment.”