Figurines used to show Mandela’s life

A Plattekloof man has produced a 32-page digital booklet that explores Nelson Mandela’s life using photographs of posed figurines.

Malcolm Ulrich, an IT employee at a fashion retailer, wants to introduce Mr Mandela to a new generation of primary school children in the run-up to what would have been the former South African president’s 100th birthday next year.

“My goal is to provide a fun, gender-neutral way to teach children about him, hence the use of figurines that both boys and girls can relate to.”

The limited-edition resin miniatures are made by Sculpture Time, a company making 1/6 scale figurines of well-known personalities.

The booklet will be available for free download from a website, but first Mr Ulrich — who had help from his daughter, Catherine, with the project — wants to have the photographs redone by a professional. He is making a public appeal for funds to pay for that.

“The photographs need better lighting to remove the shadows around the face,” he said.

Asked if he had informed the Nelson Mandela Foundation about his booklet in light of recent events that saw Dr Vejay Ramlakan’s book about Mr Mandela’s last days pulled from shelves after the Mandela family expressed its unhappiness, Mr Ulrich said: “No. There is no need to as the booklet is a consolidation of Mandela-related facts and quotations that are freely available on websites such as Wikipedia.

“A reference list and bibliography is included at the end of the booklet. The games that I mentioned were designed by me and were registered at the Department of Trade and Industry and the RSA design reference numbers can be provided on request”.

In the book Mr Mandela’s life unfolds in a series of diorama photographs with supporting text, games and quotes by the former South African president.

Mr Ulrich cites the quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” as the one that has inspired him the most.

To get involved with Mr Ulrich’s initiative, email mulrich@telkomsa.net or call 084 359 4881.

He has invited celebrities and artists to submit their personally drawn, A4-size “Mandela fan art” for inclusion in an independent exhibition following the book’s release.