Nelson Mandela’s dream: Conversations with Myself

Nelson Mandela’s book, Conversations with Myself, was released yesterday. It includes notes he wrote into the margin of his prison diary about his dreams. I’ve yet to see a copy, but here’s one dream as reported by CNN:

“One entry recalls a dream he had of going home to his Soweto house to see his wife Winnie, who was sick, while one of their daughters swallows a razor blade.”

CNN interprets context, saying, “The notes about his dreams are reminders of what it must have been like to be a father and a husband taken away from his family.”

While many of his dreams no doubt explored his feelings about his 27 years separation from his family while in prison, it’s important to remember that people in a dream reflect aspects of the dreamer. While I hesitate to interpret an extract from a dream, it’s likely that the daughter represents Mandela’s vulnerable, creative self, and the razor blades the sharp, cutting circumstances he ‘swallowed’ at the time. They may also represent his own harsh thoughts he swallowed rather than express.

Although Mandela’s book covers far more than his dreams, I’m struck by the title. Every night, when we dream, we’re effectively having ‘Conversations with Myself’. After all, dreams are all about the dreamer.

I look forward to exploring Mandela’s dreams when I get a copy of his book.

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