Letter: Mandela in 'Vogue'

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The Independent Online
Sir: Ruth Picardie in her open letter to Nelson Mandela (29 October) gives him a verbal spanking for deciding to edit the Christmas 1993 number of French Vogue which, of course, she has not seen.

The fact is that Colombe Pringle, unusual humanist editor of French Vogue, has given Nelson Mandela an unprecedented amount of clout/column space in which to communicate his people's past, present and hopes for the future. What other powerful organ of the establishment has done that? What on earth has it to do with Joan Collins and Marie Claire? And why should Ruth Picardie be, as she puts it, 'Frankly . . . out of my mind with worry' about Archbishop Desmond Tutu being involved? What would a Christmas issue on South Africa be without its most famous Christian?

Finally, does Ms Picardie have to accuse Colombe Pringle of not having overturned the Chinese government and liberated Tibet - all in under 11 months - although she dedicated her last Christmas issue to the Dalai Lama? The pen may be mightier than the sword but that is ridiculous.

Is it not enough that we owe to French Vogue one of the finest accounts of the Tibetan people ever to reach a mass readership? Is it not good that the phenomenon be repeated this Christmas on behalf of the South African people?

Yours sincerely,


London, NW8

30 October