NELSON Mandela says he isn’t saint and shouldn’t be viewed as such.
In a new book that purports to show the private of South Africa’s first black president, Mr Mandela, 92, says he suffered from “weaknesses, errors and indiscretions”.
“I relied on arrogance to hide my weaknesses,” he says in Conversations with Myself, a compilation of personal papers and recordings.
“One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint.
“I never was one, even on the basis of the earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying.”
The book, which is published on Tuesday, also features letters Mr Mandela wrote during his 27 years in jail.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was incarcerated by South Africa’s white-minority government for resisting apartheid rule, expresses his powerlessness to help his wife and children.
“I feel I have been soaked in gall, every part of me, my flesh, bloodstream, bone and soul, so bitter am I to be completely powerless to help you in the rough and fierce ordeals you are going through,” he wrote to his then-wife Winnie Mandela in August 1970.