Transcript of Mandela's last entry in his prison diary

Mandela's time in the house in Victor Verster Prison was a time of transition between imprisonment and freedom. Dated 13 January 1990, this is the very last diary entry he made while in prison.

10/06/2013
1 minutes to read
Photograph showing the inside of Nelson Mandela's prison cell


Flock of ducks walks clumsily into the lounge and loiter about apparently unaware of my presence. Males with loud colours, but keeping their dignity and not behaving like playboys. Moments later they become aware of my presence. If they got a shock they endured it with grace. Nevertheless, I detect some invisible feeling of unease on their part. It seems as if their consciences are worrying them, and although I feared that very soon their droppings will decorate the expensive carpet, I derive some satisfaction when I notice that their consciences are worrying them. Suddenly they squawk repeatedly and then fi le out. I was relieved. They behave far better then my grandchildren. They always leave the house upside down.

Conversations With Myself

by Nelson Mandela

Book cover for Conversations With Myself

Conversations With Myself is a moving collection of letters, diary entries and other writing that provides a rare chance to see the other side of Nelson Mandela's life, in his own voice: direct, clear, private. An international bestseller, Conversations With Myself is an intensely personal book that complements his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

In his foreword to Nelson Mandela's book, President Barack Obama writes: 'Conversations With Myself does the world an extraordinary service in giving us [a] picture of Mandela the man.'

Conversations With Myself gives readers insight to the darkest hours of Nelson Mandela's twenty-seven years of imprisonment and his troubled dreams in his cell on Robben Island. It contains the draft of an unfinished sequel to Long Walk to Freedom, notes from Madiba's famous speeches, and even doodles made during meetings. There are photos from his life, journals written while on the run during the anti-apartheid struggles of the early 1960s, and conversations with friends in almost 70 hours of recorded interviews. An intimate journey from the first stirrings of his political conscience to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations With Myself is an extraordinary glimpse of the man behind one of the world's most beloved public figures.

'More revealing of the man than his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom - and in many respects more moving as well' F.W. De Klerk

'A book that breaks the heart and then makes it sing' Andrew Rawnsley, Observer Books of the Year

'Intensely moving, raw and unmediated, told in real time with all the changes in perspective that brings, over the years, mixing the prosaic with the momentous. Health concerns, dreams, political initiatives spill out together, to provide the fullest picture yet of Mandela.' Peter Godwin, Observer