page 2012/41-36 - Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 36) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_036.jpg]

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ZA COM NMFP-2012/41-2012/41-36


Nelson Mandela's Warders (page 36) [Nelson Mandela's Warders_036.jpg]


  • 2011 (Creation)

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Verne Harris

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Page 36 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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Brand remained at Pollsmoor after the political prisoners had been released. In a way he was sad to see them go, but also happy that they were reunited with their families. His life was to change dramatically as his duties were now with common convicts and their death threats and belligerence. In at least one case a warder previously assigned to the political prisoners found that he could not contend with hardened convicts. He suffered a mental breakdown and was discharged. Indeed, the coterie of warders that had supervised the political prisoners had been ‘protected’ from the reality in the crowded cells. Brand stayed on until 1994, when he left for a job in a private security company. This was short-lived, as - with a reference from Mandela – he was recruited to work in the administration of the Constitutional Assembly. When the latter was dissolved, he found employment on Robben Island, running the shop. He still works there.

In 2005, Brand’s son Riaan was killed in a motor car accident when his vehicle was side-swiped in a hit and run early one Sunday morning. Ahmed Kathrada attended the funeral, and, from Mozambique, Mandela sent his condolences. Brand sprinkled his son’s ashes on Robben Island. At the time Riaan, a construction diver, was working on an extension to the Island’s harbour wall.

Mandela’s Perspective

While all three warders have spoken to the media about their time with the Rivonians, and Mandela in particular, during their years of incarceration, only James Gregory has produced a book. In 1995 Gregory’s autobiography, Goodbye Bafana, was published in the Commonwealth countries and France. The book was distributed in the United States by its publisher BCA, an imprint of Headline. The following year it appeared in a Headline

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