page 2012/41-30 - Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 30) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_030.jpg]

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ZA COM NMFP-2012/41-2012/41-30


Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 30) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_030.jpg]


  • 2011 (Creation)

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Verne Harris

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Page 30 of Nelson Mandela's Warders

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Access by permission of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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  • English

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she’d wrapped around herself as protection against the winter cold. Brand told her to leave the child in the waiting room while she saw Mandela. But she told Mandela the baby was there and he asked Brand if he could see the child. Brand refused, as did his senior officer, fearing that they would lose their jobs. Then without letting Madikizela-Mandela know, Brand contrived a way to satisfy Mandela. ‘I gave him the baby,’ recalls Brand, ‘he had tears in his eyes while he held her, then after a few minutes I took her from him and returned her to Madikizela-Mandela. She didn’t know what had happened. Mandela never told anyone about this. When we walked back to the prison section he told me how important the moment was to touch something small.’

After his two years on Robben Island, Brand applied for transfer. Working with the political prisoners was easy but he wanted to get away from the Island. As often as he applied, he was refused. In March 1982 he married and again applied for a transfer. Again he was refused. And then, unexpectedly, while he was on honeymoon he was told his transfer had been granted and he was to report to Pollsmoor. A few days later four of the Rivonians – Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Andrew Mlangeni were transferred to Pollsmoor. A couple of months later Ahmed Kathrada joined them.

Brand believes that his experience in the censor office, in handling prisoner visits and study-related matters and in his dealings with National Intelligence probably influenced the prison department’s decision to place him at Pollsmoor. As conditions were now more relaxed than they had been on the Island, he had more contact with the Rivonians, especially Mandela, who was given permission to create a vegetable garden on the prison’s roof top. But despite the more relaxed circumstances, Brand was still wary. He knew the cells were bugged and he was wary about indulging in conversations.

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