South Africa: New Mandela book chronicles extraordinary friendship

Pretoria, South Africa (PANA) - South Africa’s Penguin publishing firm has confirmed that it will be publishing a book, “Good Morning Mr Mandela”, which chronicles how a young woman had her life and everything she once believed in transformed by South Africa's greatest leader.

The author, Zelda la Grange, grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation.

From 1994 to 1996, she served as a typist at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where Nelson Mandela met her and took her under his wing.

The world statesman appointed her his private secretary and then, when he left office in 1999, appointed her as his personal assistant and official spokesperson of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

La Grange remained fiercely loyal to Mandela for years and protected him like her own father.  

Reacting to his death in December, she noted that he inspired people to forgive, to reconcile, to care, to be selfless, to be tolerant, to maintain dignity no matter what the circumstances.  

She said Mandela did not demand loyalty, but he inspired profound and unwavering loyalty from everybody whose life he touched.

“I will cherish every smile, the pleasant but also the difficult times and especially my barefoot moments. Thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you afforded me, but most of all thank you for believing in me, making me a better person, a better South African. I will love you every day for the rest of my life,” she said days after his death.

Helen Conford, Penguin’s publishing director, said the book would touch every reader.

“It has brought tears to the eyes of everyone who has read it. It shines with honesty and love. The lessons Nelson Mandela gave her as he renewed his country offer hope to everyone,” she said.

A percentage of royalties from the book will be donated by the author to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The book will be published in June and will be available worldwide.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 9April2014

09 april 2014 08:49:24

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