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Last Updated: Friday, 28 October 2005, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
In pictures: Nelson Mandela comic strip

Nelson Mandela at the launch of the comic book

"You know you are famous when you discover you have become a comic book character," Nelson Mandela joked at the launch of a comic series about his life.

The comic begins with a group of modern-day schoolchildren visiting Qunu, where Nelson Mandela grew up. The series aims to make his life and times accessible to young people.

The first comic in the series deals with the childhood of Rolihlahla Mandela - he was given the name Nelson when he went to school - in South Africa's Transkei region.

Even as a child, Mandela came into contact with racial injustice. This page of the comic describes a clash between traditional authorities and a white magistrate.

Nelson Mandela's upbringing was strongly rooted in Xhosa tradition. Like all men of the Xhosa nation, the start of his adult life was marked by the ritual of circumcision.

His political consciousness developed as he studied at South Africa's first university for black students. There he became embroiled in a political row with the university authorities.

Part one in the series ends with the young Mandela arriving in Johannesburg. The rest of his long life story will be told in a further eight comics, to appear over the coming months.

Sarah Mathega, 16, from Johannesburg, says Mandela is still an inspiration to young South Africans. "He worked hard for what he believed and what he wanted."

"If we embrace our heroes we will know the future," says Thabang Mashabela, 17. "We have read comics before, but this is the first one that has a real hero."


18 Jul 05 |  Africa


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