How Far We Slaves Have Come! By Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro
This book combines the speeches made by Mandela and Castro regarding the progress of their nations and the challenges they had ahead of them. South Africa and Cuba’s joint history is one I have great interest in due to its significance in defeating the sickening apartheid regime, which ultimately led to the great man Nelson Mandela becoming president of South Africa. The love between the two leaders is quite clear and their shared message is one of international collaboration, motivated by ideas of freedom. Independence and justice. The book gives a lot of context and historical information that I would only have assumed was available in a shelf worth of literature! It is managed in a succinct preface here and this is also garnished with a timeline of key events involving the two countries. Mandela always speaks in such a hopeful and thoughtful manner which makes me very sad since he is no longer with us and individuals of his calibre are as rare as they are wonderful. South Africa has come a long way in many respects but there are still many problems related to segregation and poverty which need to be addressed. With time and organisation I hope these barriers to harmony and prosperity will be overcome, Mandela’s legacy should be an inspirational guide for this.
Castro had a lot of love for Mandela and this comes across in his incredibly long speech, demonstrating his passion and knowledge. What he says never sounds like an astounding revelation as he is speaking directly to the people in front of him, with a nuanced understanding of their needs and desires (hence the constant cheering and applause). Both of these men come with facts that should not be refreshing but due to most politicians being perpetual charlatans it seems bizarre to hear genuine words, this rings true even if you don’t agree with their beliefs! What they talk about is grounded in their experience of revolution, their visions for the future are therefore much more compelling. Provocative ideas like the integration of South America seem all the more possible when coming from the mouths of individuals who have achieved such incredible things. The details in these particular speeches are not overly important as the sentiment is consistent with all of their words and actions, however, they were special to me as they celebrated the connection between two of the most significant world leaders of the modern era.