News

John Blake signs book by Mandela's prison guard

Publisher John Blake has signed world rights to a new title about the life of Nelson Mandela [pictured], written by the man who guarded him during his incarceration on Robben Island.

Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend, with a foreword from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will be published in hardback in autumn 2013 (£17.99).

Christo Brand was an 18-year-old recruit to the South African prison service when he was sent to work on the Robben Island prison, and was assigned to guard Mandela, who he was told was a dangerous terrorist. Over time, he became friendly with Mandela, even helping his wife Winnie bring in their grandchild for Mandela to hold for the first time.

Rosie Virgo, m.d. at John Blake, said: "It is the most amazing story. Barbara Jones, who covers Africa for the Mail on Sunday, encountered Christo while doing research for a future obituary [of Mandela], and realised he had this incredible experience to share. She is working with him to have the book finished in time for autumn. Mandela's family have really got behind it, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will provide a foreword."

Following Mandela's release and election success, Brand was given a job in the archives department of the South African parliament. He is now a tour guide at Robben Island, and remains close friends with Mandela and his family.

Mandela, who served as president of South Africa between 1994 and 1999, is currently critically ill in hospital with a lung infection.