Doing Life with Mandela

For twelve years Christo Brand was Nelson Mandela’s prison guard. Highly classified by the National Intelligence Service, no one suspected a thing. Only on Mandela’s release in 1991 did the true extent and depth of their friendship begin to surface. At Mandela’s insistence, Christo Brand published his book Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend, with co-author Barbara Jones. The book launch was delayed after Nelson Mandela’s passing in December 2013; sadly Mandela never got to see the final version of the book he insisted Christo must write. He wanted the world to read about their friendship.

Seven years later it is now time to publish a second edition, including an update on Christo’s journey since 2014. We have included a number of contributions from a wide range of people who share personal aspects of their own journeys and reflect on the lives of Christo Brand and Nelson Mandela and the roles these two men played in South Africa’s history. We have also included our own reading list, in hopes of inspiring readers to do their own further research into this period of South Africa’s history and the people who shaped it. There is also a photo section containing some images never seen before.

The cover painting was done by Mardee Cita, a South African artist living in the small seaside village of Hermanus. We asked Mardee to try to capture the essence of a rural Eastern Cape landscape, the region where Mandela was born. It is a beautifully simple yet vibrant painting. How appropriate that Mandela chose the small village of Qunu, the place where he had spent the happiest years of his life as a young boy, as his final resting place.

The updated second edition of Doing Life with Mandela by Christo Brand with Barbara Jones, edited by Andrew Russell and with foreword by Makaziwe Mandela, will be published by Blue Ear Books in early 2022.