Exclusive – Zelda la Grange: “In the end, Madiba and I had a grandfather-granddaughter relationship”

Exclusive – Zelda la Grange: “In the end, Madiba and I had a grandfather-granddaughter relationship”

With the 30 year anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in sight, Terence Pillay sits down for an exclusive one-on-one with the icon’s long-time personal assistant and friend Zelda la Grange.

terence pillay and zelda la grange
Terence Pillay

Listen to the podcast and read the details below:

“When you spend two decades of your life with somebody, and you lose them, it takes time to realise what impact that person’s life had on your own life and that of the rest of the world. This is the case with me and Nelson Mandela." These are the words of Zelda la Grange, personal assistant and long-time friend to arguably one of the greatest men on the planet.

Madiba and Zelda met for the first time in 1994. At that first meeting, he spoke to her in Afrikaans, a moment she says, changed her life forever. With his retirement in 1999, he chose Zelda to stay by his side. They travelled the world, and she experienced first hand how he touched millions of people’s lives.

It was also during these 19 years by his side, that Zelda had the chance to listen to stories about the people and places that had an influence on the young Nelson Mandela’s life. 

Five years after his death, Zelda had the courage to travel to the places that he spoke about so fondly. It was on these travels, that she realised he didn’t become the leader and world icon overnight, but that he had a calling as a young man, and that calling paved the way for the man who he would become.

This part of history was captured for the first time in this fascinating documentary series. The series is in Afrikaans with English subtitles and was produced by Brainwave Productions. It includes exclusive interviews with Graça Machel, chief Zwelivelile Mandela, Bono, and Morgan Freeman.

Viewers will see the landscapes Madiba roamed as a young boy, where he went to school, and where he lived in his early adult years. An epic journey following the footsteps of a remarkable man.

The six-part documentary will be broadcast in Afrikaans with English subtitles and will also, be available on Showmax.

Mabiba: ‘n Uitsonderlike Roeping (Madiba: A Glorious Human Achievement) is a documentary series that airs every Sunday at 8pm on kykNET DStv channel 144.

Watch the trailer here: 

ALSO: Exclusive – Nan Lee: “I feel survivor’s guilt and wish I could just have my daughter back!”

You can email Terence Pillay at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @terencepillay1 and tweet him your thoughts.

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