Christo Brand – Inspiration Education early years were spent on a small farm outside Stanford. The farm was called “Goedvertrouw” – a Dutch word meaning “Good trust”.
He went to a small school on a nearby farm from the age of 5 years. Life was tough – the family had no luxuries; no electricity.
At the age of 12, his father developed pneumonia and the family were forced to leave the farm and move to his uncle’s house in Parow Valley. Now available to book through Conference Speakers International
After matric, rather than join the army for National Service as was compulsory for every white male, Christo decided to join the prison service. After a year in Kroonstad he was sent to work on Robben Island in 1978 at the age of 19.
That was when Christo first came across Nelson Mandela who at that time was 60 years old.
This was where they formed a relationship which was to become so much more. A close friendship built on trust and mutual respect for each other. Follow Christo on Twitter
In 1982, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison. On 13th March that year, Christo married Estelle. Soon afterwards, Christo was transferred to Pollsmoor and was responsible for guarding Mandela for the next 6 years.
On his release from prison, Mandela organised a job for Christo as an administrative and logistics manager in the Constitutional Assembly. Once the Constitution was adopted, Ahmed Kathrada arranged for Christo to start work again on Robben Island – this time as supervisor in the island shop.
The wheel had turned full circle and Christo was back where he started his work career. But this time on an island freed of prisoners – a place of healing and reconciliation. A place of endless fascination to international tourists, historians, political activists and anyone with an interest in South Africa’s turbulent past.
Christo Brand – Inspiration Education
Encouraged and supported by Nelson Mandela, in 2014 Christo wrote his book “Doing Life with Mandela – My Prisoner, My Friend”, with co-author Barbara Jones.
In the Foreword, Ahmed Kathrada writes: “My lasting impression of Christo Brand is that he’s a very good human being. He’s not a politician; he’s just a very caring man who took chances for other people, which could have brought him trouble.
I sincerely hope that Christo’s book will receive the respect and attention it deserves. It is a valuable addition to the writings about imprisonment in the apartheid era, and it is written by a fine man.
It is also unique in that it is the most honest account I have read by a warden relating their interaction with Nelson Mandela, and for that alone it deserves credit. I wish Christo all the success in the world.”