Politics & Media
Apr 04, 2022, 06:27AM

That’s a Mistake

A 2001 O Magazine interview with the late politician and activist Nelson Mandela vs. a 2019 Louder Than War interview with musician Bob Bert.

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Bob Bert: I remember it very well. When I got that email, I almost fell off my computer chair.

Nelson Mandela: If you do that, then the person sees that you have a complete picture of him.

Bert: And that’s exactly what happened. He even invited me to his wedding party or something.

Mandela: True, true. But because we wanted to avoid slaughtering each other, we had to suppress our feelings.

Bert: They were like nineteen, twenty-year old college dropouts with their hair dyed black and brand new leather jackets on.


Mandela: Absolutely. And when you are in jail, you are unable to give those things to your children.

Bert: I think I must have spent more than half my life in that place.

Mandela: When I closed that book, I was a different man.

Bert: I had no interest in that book.

Mandela: That’s a mistake.


Bert: Some people weren’t known then and no one cares about them now. So, I figured: why bother?

Mandela: Because we became friendly with certain wardens, we'd ask them, "Can't you take us to the rubbish dump?" Newspapers were dumped there, and we'd clean them off, hide them, and take them back to our cells to read.

Bert: We had traveled a long way to do that interview, the guy was a pretty well-known journalist and when we finally got to the place: here we are and Jon’s acting like a total asshole.


Mandela: I learned to have the patience to listen when people put forward their views, even if I think those views are wrong.

Bert: It was a whole other time, which will never happen again.


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