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Good Morning, Mr Mandela


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Speaker(s): Zelda la Grange
Chair: John Carlin

Recorded on 24 June 2014 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Zelda la Grange (@ZeldalaGrangeSA) grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation. Yet just a few years after the end of Apartheid she would become a most trusted assistant to Nelson Mandela, growing to respect and cherish the man she had been taught was the enemy.

Zelda la Grange will speak about her new book in conversation with John Carlin. Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young typist in her twenties later chosen to become one of the President's most loyal and devoted servants, spending most of her adult working life travelling with, supporting and caring for the man she would come to call 'Khulu', or 'grandfather'.

Zelda la Grange was born in 1970 and brought up in apartheid South Africa. She began working as a secretary for the government in 1992, in the Department of State Expenditure. In 1993 she moved to the Human Resources division and in 1994 she joined the office of the first democratically elected President of South Africa as a senior ministerial typist. She was promoted to one of President Mandela's three private secretaries in 1997 and in 1999 Nelson Mandela requested her to remain in his services beyond retirement. In 2002 she left government and became a full time employee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She served Nelson Mandela in different capacities over nineteen years, ranging from typist, assistant private secretary, private secretary, manager of his office his spokesperson and aide-de-camp. She was serving as his personal assistant when he passed on in December 2013.

Credits: Tom Sturdy (Audio Post-Production), LSE AV Services (Audio Recording).

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