Mandela's former jailer on Robben Island talks about his former prisoner

Published on January 4, 2021

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(7 Dec 2013) The former Robben Island prison guard who befriended Nelson Mandela during his time on the island prison described him as a “father” and “a person which you can look up to.”
Christo Brand was a young jailer when Mandela, who had already spent a number of years in prison, was assigned to his guard.
Brand and Mandela developed a friendship over the years of Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island.
Mandela was sent to Robben Island prison after being convicted of treason.
The anti-apartheid campaigner was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for leading a campaign of sabotage against the government.
Brand was his prison warder from 1978 until Mandela’s release in 1990.
“We as a country will miss him, I will also very much miss his voice. Even to see him on a regular basis, I will miss that a lot,” said Brand on Saturday.
The anti-apartheid leader died on Thursday aged 95.
Brand expressed his wishes for Mandela’s family and said, “I am thinking of the family today, what they go through.”
“All these arrangements they have made for the funeral, and I hope everything run very smooth, and then also that they are not fighting, the family, that they can reconcile, and everything is quiet and that everything will be done. Mandela would want to go out really as quiet as possible,” he said.
Brand recollected the leader’s wish to be buried in his rural hometown, Qunu.
“If his last resting place was Qunu, that’s what he said to me, I say to Mandela, “We must bury you on Robben Island.” Then he just laughed he said “Why?’, I said, “For tourist attraction”. He said, ‘(For) that you should have made money, but I think I must go to Qunu.’ That was him making a joke,” Brand said.
The state funeral and burial for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate will be held in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province, on Sunday December 15.

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Who Was Imprisoned on Robben Island

Who Was Imprisoned on Robben Island, Mandela's former jailer on Robben Island talks about his former prisoner.

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