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Jul 7th, 2009
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In honor of Nelson Mandela, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA) and Hachette Audio produced an audiobook edition of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, an award-winning book of stories hand-picked by the Nobel laureate.

Diverse, acclaimed performers donated their talents to the charitable endeavor by voicing stories: Gillian Anderson, Benjamin Bratt, LeVar Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, Helen Mirren, Parminder Nagra, Sophie Okonedo, CCH Pounder, Alan Rickman, Jurnee Smollett, Charlize Theron, Blair Underwood, Forest Whitaker, and Alfre Woodard. Archbishop Desmond Tutu recorded a message to the world’s children, and African music legends Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela composed original music.

Academy Award(R) nominee, Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) winner Alfre Woodard, who co-founded ANSA in 1989, served as the audiobook’s director. She said, “I was privileged to be with Nelson Mandela last year in London, where he challenged us, saying, ‘…our work is far from complete. Where there is poverty and sickness, including AIDS, where human beings are oppressed, there is more work to be done. It is in your hands now.’ With this audiobook, ANSA pays tribute to our friend and hero, Nelson Mandela. It will take the hands of all mankind to lift that burden and carry on the work. We hope you will join us and support this effort.”

Recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Johannesburg, the audiobook is published and distributed by Hachette Audio, a division of Hachette Book Group, a subsidiary of Hachette Livre, the second largest publisher in the world. The performers, director, producers, engineers, designers, attorneys, manufacturers, and studios all donated their services, as did Grammy(R) winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen.

Samuel L. Jackson, a leading ANSA supporter, commented, “I’ve traveled with ANSA to rural villages and met children whose lives will be changed by this audiobook. This is our way of honoring Mr. Mandela, by assisting children who are the future of his nation and our world.”

“We hope the audiobook will be enjoyed by people of all ages, increasing awareness of Africa’s rich cultures while creating a better future for South Africa’s vulnerable children,” said ANSA Executive Director Sharon Gelman.

In his foreword for the book, Nelson Mandela wrote, “It is my wish that the voice of the storyteller may never die in Africa, that all the children of the world may experience the wonder of books.” The audiobook brings these timeless tales to a new oral tradition to be heard around the world.

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