Remembering Nelson Mandela: Last Entry as a Prisoner



In January of 1990, Nelson Mandela wrote his last journal entries while being imprisoned. This journal entry above is the last archived note that exists. It was written in a place called Victor Verster Prison, a transfer facility between ‘imprisonment and freedom” ( While sitting in literal limbo, Mandela’s mind was occupied with the happenings of a gathering of ducks on the lawn. The passage seems like an unconscious stream of observations that he granted his body permission to write down. He is metaphoric with his description of the male ducks’ “loud colours,” and how they hold themselves with “dignity” rather than as “playboys”( Throughout the entry, he is sensitive to the notion that the birds are “uneasy,” and that their “consciousness is worrying them” ( This social analysis is fascinating when taken into account that Mandela had not been a part of a society in twenty-six years.

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