One of the highlights in the archive is a small A6 size paper birthday card with a yellow floral design that folds out to A4 size to reveal a handwritten letter by Mandela, dated 1 March 1975. In the letter, Mandela speaks of “the many hours of pleasure” he spent with the Joseph family that “serve as a source of inspiration at gloomy moments”. He also recalls heartwarming memories of friendship, starting with when Adelaide (referred to as ‘Adie’ in the letter) used to visit him to bring him food when he was first arrested “Do you still remember Aug-Oct ’62 when you would visit me almost daily at Ameshoff St carrying a pantry of tasty curries in your hands?”.
This memory features alongside other life events including the time Mandela drove his friends to the hospital when Anand, one of Paul and Adelaide’s twins (Zoya & Anand) who were born in 1959, needed specialist treatment. He recalls “the reaction of those we met were quite amusing. Some were somewhat puzzled but held their tongues”. He then goes on to talk about learning of the death of Anand (in 1970), sending his deepest sympathies, and reflecting on how Zoya and Anand used to play in their cot with Adie tickling Anand.
Also in the birthday card/letter, Mandela talks of looking forward to meeting Tanya and Nadia, Adie and Paul Joseph’s other children. Nadia Joseph (1966-), an active social justice campaigner who was herself involved in the anti-apartheid movement, liaised with Richard Espley, Head of Modern Collections at Senate House Library, regarding the donation of this collection and joining other related collections on the Anti-Apartheid movement.