page 2012/41-23 - Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 23) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_023.jpg]

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ZA COM NMFP-2012/41-2012/41-23


Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 23) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_023.jpg]


  • 2011 (Creation)

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1 digital image
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Verne Harris

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Page 23 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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Having given his order, Gregory turned to wish his prisoner well.

He looked directly into my eyes and I could see the tears. He let go of my hand and grabbed me by the shoulders and embraced me. I hugged him back. We did not move and all around us people stood still not wishing to break us. ... At that moment I knew in my heart this man was going to lead my country and I bowed my head slightly and said, ‘Thank you, sir.’ (p368)

Gregory was sent on an officer’s training course shortly after Mandela’s release as he’d been promised and was duly promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He returned to work at Pollsmoor but took an early retirement package in 1993 at the age of fifty-one. The following year he spent time with Bob Graham writing what would become Goodbye Bafana. Graham had rented an apartment overlooking Hout Bay and the Sentinel and the two men worked there for three months. It is unknown how Gregory responded to the criticism his book received on publication in South Africa where it was soon dismissed as largely a fabrication.

In 2003, Gregory, who spent his retirement reading thrillers by such writers as Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, John le Carre and Frederick Forsyth, suffered another death in the family: his second son, Zane, died in a speedboat accident on the Vaal River. Gregory was devastated. ‘No father should lose both his sons,’ he told his wife, Gloria. Shortly afterwards he contracted cancer and died six months later.

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