The book On the run for apartheid by Dumani Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, has just been released in Dutch: a world first, because the original English version has not yet been published. The novel is about the hasty flight of young Sandile with his sister and their parents from South Africa, when a state of emergency is declared in 1985, and what follows abroad. The author immensely empathizes with the main character Sandile, who at the age of ten has to leave his village of Cofimvaba and only returns to South Africa ten years later in 1994 when the political landscape has completely changed.
In the book, Nelson Mandela never figures as a grandfather, yet the central events surrounding him, his release and election, are indicative of Sandile's highly personal life story. The preparation for the flight, the solidarity within the liberation movement, the diaspora in Sweden, the fear after the murder of Olof Palme, Uburu and Ubuntu, the NEPAD document, the full story of the African continent, the indigenous African capital, the love story by Sandile and Anelisa, rites of passage and traditional healing methods: all these themes are interrelated in a masterly, compelling way. Rhundu's letter that her grandchildren get to read when they return to Africa after their stay in Sweden (pages 99-111), is visionary, surprising and moving at the same time, a beautiful text to use in education.
Fleeing from apartheid by Dumani Mandela is a haunting novel that confronts us with the great value of South Africa's indigenous cultural capital. The author introduces the reader into a whole new universe, where colonialism and apartheid are exhausted and black and white people live together in peace.