Albie Sachs on Nelson Mandela

Albie Sachs, a judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 to 2009 and author of The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter was appointed judge by Nelson Mandela in 1994. In an article in today’s The Independent following Mandela’s death yesterday, Sachs wrote:

“One of Mandela’s great accomplishments during the years of his Presidency was to link up the ordinary details of life with the great events of our history, and to do so with a light and intensely human touch.”

In The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter Albie Sachs described his own part in South Africa’s transformation, and how he worked alongside Mandela to create a new constitution for South Africa. He worked with Mandela on a new Bill of Rights in the post-apartheid years which placed non-sexism on a par with non-racialism as a foundation feature of the new constitution.

In a speech at Constitution Hill, at the Old Fort Prison, now the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Sachs paid tribute to the President Nelson Mandela:

“All of us here are mortal,” I realised that this was not too tactful a statement, “except for the President, who will live to be two hundred years old.”

It turns out that Albie Sachs was correct the first time: even Nelson Mandela was mortal. He passed away aged 95, but we can be sure that his legacy will live on – for two hundred years, and more.

Read Albie Sachs’ full tribute to Nelson Mandela in The Independent, or learn more about his involvement with Mandela in South Africa’s post-apartheid transformation in The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter.


Weekly Round-up

We’ve had some great reviews and some interesting bits and pieces come in this week, so we thought we’d collect them up for you here. Below you will find a couple of great reviews, and a video of one of our authors speaking at a recent event. As always, we’ve got a great mix of titles in here – just another reminder of the fantastic eclectic mix we offer at Souvenir Press.

The Heart of Care – Amanda Waring

The book is packed full of powerful, experiential learning exercises to help readers understand the older person’s perspective and gain insight into the kind of care environment they are and should be providing and the world of someone living with dementia. […] This is a ‘must have’ book for staff, managers and owner’s of services supporting older people in care homes or in their own home. – Relative Matters

Undoing Depression – Richard O’Connor

O’Connor gives the reader a good understanding of such a confusing, misunderstood disease. […] O’Connor says we must behave as if we have the power to control ourselves, because if we don’t, we have no hope. This perfectly sums up his writing – intelligent, insightful, realistic and relatable – but positive in the face of one of life’s hardest challenges. – The Pains of an Overactive Mind blog

The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter – Albie Sachs

In 1988 after decades as an anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs lost his right arm and an eye when his car was blown up by South African security agents. He was already living in exile and had been imprisoned twice but as he recovered from his injuries he decided that he would write his way to recovery. His book The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter is published by Souvenir Press.

Albie Sachs spoke at TEDxEuston recently, and his inspirational talk is now available to watch online.

Black History Month (part 2)

As October is celebrated as Black History Month here in the UK, we at Souvenir Press have put together a few book recommendations for you. You can find the first part of this post series here, where we recommended the fantastic BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin, and the equally brilliant A SOFT VENGEANCE OF A FREEDOM FIGHTER by Albie Sachs.

We now have two more titles to recommend to you as part of our Black History Month series of blog posts.


“Telling the inspiring story of the Civil Rights movement… A very important and moving book which tells the story of the movement that transported and changed not only America but globally”. – ‘Black History Live’

This is the account of the birth of a national Civil Rights movement in America, that pivotal turning point in American history, told through Martin Luther King Jr’s own experiences and stories, chronicling his community’s refusal to accept the injustices of racial discrimination. He described ‘Stride Toward Freedom’ as “the chronicle of 50,000 Negroes who took to heart the principles of non-violence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.”

THE HORN – John Clellon Holmes

“This is a book you can return to again and again just for the writing alone… Holmes is a writer, not a musician, but somehow he captures the life of a jazz musician in the first half of the twentieth century… It should be on the reading list of anyone who cares about jazz.” –

Edgar Pool is the Horn, the greatest tenor saxophonist of his generation, the man who created bop and who has become a myth for younger musicians. The Horn lives no life but jazz, his nights are spent in the crowded nightclubs of New York where the wistful, throaty sounds of his saxophone speak of the desires and pasts of his audience. After being out-played for the first time by a younger man the Horn sets out to stumble through New York for the last time. As his friends and lovers search for him they remember his life, and try to find the truth of his brilliant and tragic career. The Horn is a brilliant evocation of the world of jazz and a vivid memorial to the musicians who created it.

Black History Month

Here in the UK, October is Black History Month, and here at Souvenir Press we’ve got a great selection of titles to recommend! We will highlight four fantastic titles over the course of the month – two in this post, and two to follow in a later post. So join us as we celebrate Black History month here at Souvenir Press!

BLACK LIKE ME – John Howard Griffin

One of the most extraordinary books ever written about relations between the races. – The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4.

In 1959, before the Civil Rights movement spread across the United States, John Howard Griffin underwent medical treatments to disguise himself as a black man. He then travelled through the segregated Deep South of America, exchanging the privileged life of a white man for the disenfranchisement of the black man, and experienced the racism that was endured by millions on a daily basis. From the threat of violence to the indignities of being unable to use a drinking fountain or buy food from a particular shop Griffin documented his experience of racism and opened the eyes of white America to the abuses going on in their country.


An extraordinary man, a living testimony to the belief that the human spirit can overcome all adversity… That he survived not just to exist but make so fulsome a contribution to the life of a new, altogether better South Africa is a triumph. – The Independent

In 1988 after decades as an anti-apartheid activist, Albie Sachs lost his right arm and an eye when his car was blown up by South African security agents. This is his own moving account of his recovery in and his gradual re-entry into life and politics and the parallel emergence of an apartheid-free South Africa. Sachs writes of his years spent working for justice in South Africa, as well as expressing his euphoria at finding himself alive day after day. Was it worth it? he asks. His unforgettable and inspiring answer is a resounding yes . The soft vengeance he has achieved is not to inflict pain and injustice on those who attacked him but to help in the creation of a society where humanity and justice triumph over cruelty and racist division.