Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Pulitzer Winner David Turnley
Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.
Nelso n Mandela on Robben Island, following his re lease
from prison after 27 years.
A Tribute to Nelson Mandela
by Pulitzer Winner David Turnley
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley
spent 28 years photographing South Africa’s struggles
Having documented the life of Nelson Mandela and his
people, Turnley reflects on his memories of Mandela on
the day of his release from prison.
He became close to the Mandela family while photographing
Winnie Mandela for LIFE magazine. Pretending to be a
lawyer, he accompanied her to Pollsmoor Prison, where he
glimpsed a silhouette of Nelson Mandela during his final years
in prison. It was a powerful and “dreamlike experience.”
Mr. Turnley has since captured some of the most iconic
images of the anti-apartheid leader: intimate moments after
his release in 1990, his campaign for president and his quest
to end South Africa’s brutally codified system of racial
Matthew Pearce waited for a
train home from Bishops, a
private school in Cape Town,
during the apartheid period.
Although apartheid prohibited
blacks from living in white
areas, many worked in white
‘Madiba’ Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was raised in the rural Transkei, born into the Xhosa Thembu Royal family. At age 22, after studying at the prestigious Fort Hare
University when the portrait in this photograph was made, ‘Madiba’ returned to the village to find that his Chieftan father had arranged marriages for him and his
adopted brother, Justin. It was at this moment that Mandela, resisting, took a train to Johannesburg and was quickly catapulted into a leadership role to end
apartheid. The young man in this photograph, holding the portrait of ‘Madiba’ in college, is a distant relative who lives in the village of Mqhekezweni, in the
Transkei, where this original portrait still sits on the mantel of the family home.
Under the tenants of apartheid, every South African of color was stripped of South African citizenship, obligated to carry a passbook at all times and relegated to
their tribal identities — all in order to ensure governance at the hands of a white minority. 1994.
South Afr ican blacks throughout the country were obliged to live in townships, ghettos on the outskirts of urban centers inhabited by whites. Soweto, where this
photograph was made, became home to 1.3 million black South Africans on the outskirts of Johannesburg and also the home where Nelson and Winnie Mandela lived
when first married.0
As their l eader Nelson Mandela was sent to prison for life for his aspirations of a non-racist, non-sexist democratic South Africa, it was common that hundreds of
thousands of black South Africans would congregate in a township somewhere in the country each weekend to protest apartheid and to mourn the deaths of loved
ones killed protesting.
Nelson Mandela was sent to Robben Island with a life sentence for treason for his participation in the African National Congress (ANC) in 1964. He spent 19 of his
27 years in this prison cell on Robben Island, and the remaining years on the mainland on the edge of Cape Town in Pollsmoor Prison.
Winnie M andela fell in love with and married Nelson Mand ela when she was 24 years old. They had two children — both girls — during the two years before
Mandela went to prison. Winnie herself was placed in solitary confinement for 18 months and was banished for nine years under house arrest in Brandfort. Through
it all, Winnie remained the public persona of her husband. 1986.
Black South Africans mourn the deaths of anti-apartheid protestors in Duncan Village, a township outside of East London, South Africa. 1986.
The world looked on as international hero Mandela walked out of prison after 27 years on Feb. 11, 1990, with his wife, Winnie. At 6'3" tall, "Madiba" and his
presence met the stature that the world had expected.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu leads Mandela through the neighborhood in Soweto where Mandela lived before going to prison — the same neighborhood home to
Archbishop Tutu — on the first day of his release from prison.
The motorcade carrying Mr. Mandela from prison to Cape Town City Hall. More than half a million South Africans were waiting to see the man they affectionately
Archbishop Desmond Tutu persuaded Mr. Mandela to come to City Hall to greet his reception committee.
Sitting with Walter Sisulu, who had spent 27 years in prison with Mandela, just minutes after his release, they confer seconds before Mandela made his first public
speech to the world.
Mandela is greeted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Cape Town City Hall, among the first group of people that Mandela celebrated with after his release.
The morning after Mandela's release from prison, he returned to his one-bedroom, cinder-block home that only recently had indoor plumbing, where he and Winnie
had started their life with two daughters 27 years earlier, Zinzi and Zni.
Nelson Mandela shares his first meal at the Mandela home in Soweto with his family and fellow inmate of 27 years, Walter Sisulu. The man pouring champagne,
Cyril Ramaphosa, who many believe could be the next President of South Africa.
Madiba sits in the backyard in front of the international press corps with his beloved wife, Winnie, the day after his release from prison.
Following Nelson Mandela's release from prison, he circulated through the country. Everywhere he went, millions of South Africans came out to celebrate their
leader and to support him in his quest to become the first President of a democratic South Africa. 1993.
Nelson M andela visits the mud rondavel in which he was raised as a child in the rural Transkei. In his years following his Presidency, he moved back to this area
that represented for him his roots and his love for the beauty of his South African land. With his classic charm and a smile on his face, he remarked upon exiting the
dwelling that he had become a man in this rondavel.
Having b een adopted at age nine by a Thambu chief and r aised in this village, Mandela has said that it is underneath this tree where he learned the value of
consensus politics, as each Wednesday evening the community would gather with the village elders to discuss the issues at hand. Everyone was given an
opportunity to speak.
Nelson Mandela After His Release
Nelson Mandela stands and raises his fist
to the South African crowd after his
release from a long imprisonment.
Mr. Mandela campaigning for the presidency of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela, surrounded by his ever-loyal bodyguards, campaigns in the northern Transvaal. 1994.
Minutes after Mandela was inaugurated as the
first President of a democratic and free South
Africa. During his first speech in front of
heads of state, the wife of the former
President F. W. De Klerk couldn't bring
herself to turn and listen to the new
Just after Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech, he introduces Cuban President Fidel Castro to the former South African President F. W. De Klerk.
For thos e familiar with the movie Invictus, in real life, thes e are the two sons of the 1996 South African World Cup Rugby champion's captain, Francois Pienaar.
Sitting on his lap, the boy on the right asked innocently, "Madiba, how could they have put you in prison for 27 years when you didn't steal anything?" Madiba
responded, "Sweetheart, I did steal something. I stole freedom for our people."
Mandela sits with his new wife, Graca Machel, in their home outside Qunu, in the Transkei where Mandela was raised. 2007.
Nelson Mandela smiles for portraits by photo-journalists covering his homecoming shortly after he was released from prison. 13 February 1990.
On a hillside outside of Qunu in the Transkei, a man who referred to himself as one of Mandela's brothers, stands in front of the family cemetery where it is
commonly thought Mandela will be buried. 2007.
Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in prison and two administrations as South African President of a newly-democratic nation, sits enjoying a braai (or BBQ), listening
to singing in the backyard of a friend as he relishes his graceful years in a free nation.
Honoring Madiba: Funeral and week of Memorial Services for Nelson Mandela. In African tradition rain represents a welcoming of an esteemed elder into the heavens.
The rain poured heavily on the day of Mandela's memorial.
To understand Nelson Mandela is to understand the love and reverence he holds for the rural Transkei, acknowledging the African history and the peacefulness of
traditional Khosa-speaking, agrarian culture — still largely bereft of material wealth but rich in human dignity and natural beauty.
"Gimme Hope Jo'anna"
is a song originally by Eddy Grant, a well-known anti-apartheid
reggae anthem from the 1980s, written during the apartheid era in
The song was banned by the South African government when it
was released, but was widely played in South Africa nonetheless.
It reached 7 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grant's first Top
10 hit for more than five years.
David Turnley, Winnie Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
David Turnley with Nelson Mandela at his home (2007)
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley
cast A Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Pulitzer
Winner David Turnley
images and text credit www.
Music Mandela Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Jo'Anna
thanks for watching