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Letters to Mandela

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ARNO REUVERS is a South African Afrikaans fruit farmer who runs his family’s apple and pear farm just outside of Cape Town. The movie Invictus, about Nelson Mandela’s role in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, had a profound impact on Arno. For the first time, contrary to his prejudices and upbringing, he understood that Mandela used that World Cup to build a nation and to help white and black South Africans begin the slow process of reconciliation. As a response to the film, he wrote a letter to Mandela in which he committed to becoming a nation builder as well.

The letter was published in the letters page of a local Afrikaans newspaper which was where we discovered it. With much coercion, we eventually convinced Arno to allow us to make a short film of his letter so that others, in various ways, would be inspired to action as well. At the end of 2010, Nelson Mandela sat down after lunch with his daughter Zinziwe and his close friend, Ahmed Kathrada, and watched the film of Arno`s letter. We are told that he was moved and wanted to keep a copy of it to watch it again.

Many other South Africans have now joined the movement, writing letters to Madiba that show their commitment to nation-building. View these letters, or write your own, at letterstomandela.org.

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