Nobody who was there will forget it, and now, on the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Brixton, there’s a children’s book inspired by the event.
Kemi Bamgbose wrote When Mr Mandela Came To Town based partly on her childhood experience of seeing the visit, and also to educate and inspire children about modern Black British history.
It is now available to pre-order from Kemi’s website and will be released towards the end of this month.
The visit of the newly elected President Mandela followed his 27 of years imprisonment for campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, a struggle that eventually turned into an irresistible worldwide movement.
When Mr Mandela Came Town, with illustrations from Nada Helmy, is a reimagined fictional account …
Tinu Dos Santos thinks watching the news is utterly boring and depressing.
Yet every single day she must watch the news along with her siblings because her parents insist it is “good for them”.
One day a news story pops up that piques her curiosity – Mr Nelson Mandela, the newly elected President of South Africa, is coming to town!
Her parents are so excited at this prospect that Tinu is allowed to take the day off school to join the crowds as they welcome Mr. Mandela on his historic trip to Brixton.
With thousands lining the streets, a strong police presence and the nation’s media watching, what happens next astounds everyone and Tinu and her family are at the heart of it.
“I remember my Mum and Dad saying we could take the day off school to go and see Mr Mandela in Brixton – which you will never hear from African parents!” Kemi recalls.
“Yet they knew how monumental the occasion would be and didn’t want us to miss out despite being so young.
“I was 11 at the time. I specifically remember my dad saying: ‘this experience will be better than any book you will ever read’. And it couldn’t be truer!”
Written for children aged 6-7 years and upwards, the book combines its creative retelling of the author’s experience with a comprehension quiz, creative activities and a glossary to aid children’s learning – making it a great resource for schools.
“I wrote the book because I wanted children today to know about this important piece of modern Black British history,” says Kemi.
“It is my story – with a lot of creative licence – but I hope that it will inspire others and perhaps encourage parents to allow their children to experience enriching life moments should the occasion arise – because it can have a positive lifelong impact.
The book is available to pre-order as an ebook and in print from Carobee Media.