A Mandela Reading List

Honor Mandela's legacy by learning about the man, his people and the times that created him. Here's a starting point.

By Carla Murphy Dec 06, 2013

If you were a tot or not even a thought in 1990 when Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, and you want to pay your respects, this quick hits list is for you. (Plus, rapper Kendrick Lamar said to do it.)

Mandela would be the first to say it: his release was not just about him. Start with the autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom with the Amandla! soundtrack as background music. But be sure to dig into the lives and words of other freedom fighters like Steve Biko, too–as well as those of ordinary South Africans, no matter their color. Madiba was not alone.

This list is just a beginning. If you’re Gen X or older, please, add more in comments!

Non-Fiction by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1995)

Conversations with Myself (2010)

Other Non-Fiction

Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa (1979)

My Traitor’s Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe and His Conscience (1990)


Cry, the Beloved Country (1948)

Kaffir Boy (1986)

Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)


Blood Knot (1964)

Sarafina! (musical, 1988)

Sarafina! (film, 1992)

Amandla!: A Revolution in Four Part Harmony (2002)

Mama Africa: Miriam Makeba (2011)

For the kids

The Day Gogo Went To Vote (1999)

Nelson Mandela (2013)