page 2012/41-13 - Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 13) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_013.jpg]

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ZA COM NMFP-2012/41-2012/41-13


Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 13) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_013.jpg]


  • 2011 (Creation)

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Verne Harris

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Page 13 of Nelson Mandela's Warders
James Gregory

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Access by permission of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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  • English

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about the book’s veracity. However, the journalist Benjamin Pogrund conducted extended sessions interviewing Gregory for The Independent newspaper and Granada TV in 1994.

For The Independent interview Pogrund spent several days at Gregory’s home and ‘combed over the details.’ In an email he writes, ‘I liked him: he was as pleasant and friendly as I had found him to be during my previous contacts over the years. He was clearly a great admirer of Madiba. As friendly as he generally was, I kept finding that his emotions were not very deep and that this weakened his insights and descriptions. He had been a prison warder all those years and his personality was limited.’

Gregory wanted Pogrund to write a book about his relations with Mandela but Pogrund decided there was enough material for an article but not enough for a book. Sometime later Granada TV sent Pogrund to Cape Town to interview Gregory and again Pogrund came to the same conclusion. ‘My view of Gregory as a decent man with a genuine respect for Mandela was confirmed, as was my view about the lack of depth in the man.’ Granada TV decided against making a documentary.

When Pogrund later came across a copy of Goodbye Bafana in a London bookshop he riffled through it and soon dismissed it as containing ‘invention and patent untruths.’ In his email he comments, ‘Thoughts and feelings and conversations were attributed to Gregory which I knew had not been possible, given the nature of the man, and which had not happened. It was a tabloid product.’

It is from this book that basic information relating to Gregory’s life and some of his thoughts have been drawn.

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