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Shakespearean Insights: Nelson Mandela and Shakespeare

A photograph of Nelson Mandela in 1994 (left) and a portrait of William Shakespeare by John Taylor which is thought to have been painted from life (right)
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A photograph of Nelson Mandela in 1994 (left) and a portrait of William Shakespeare by John Taylor which is thought to have been painted from life (right)

Jason Kind Jones talks about a rare book that the British Library recently displayed from Nelson Mandela. The activist and lawyer reportedly kept The Complete Works of William Shakespeare with him during his imprisonment on South Africa's Robben Island. The book was a source of inspiration for Mandela during a time when newspapers were banned and letters from loved ones were rare. Mandela would often read aloud from the book to other prisoners, which is noteworthy considering Mandela grew up 6,000 miles from Britain and English was never his mother tongue.

Learn more about the legendary playwright, his performances and more on Shakespearean Insights, produced in partnership with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

Jason King Jones is the host of Shakespearean Insights on WDIY. He is the Artistic Director of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.