Guarding Mandela: Where do you come from? Who is your family? What are you studying? from an interview with Christo Brand


Christo Brand works at the Nelson Mandela Gateway in Cape Town, South Africa. This Gateway is the starting point for daily boat tours to Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other political prisoners were imprisoned during the Apartheid regime. Christo Brand knows these histories well, for he was a prison officer on Robben Island – one of the warders directly assigned to guard Nelson Mandela. The following piece is an extract from an interview by David Denborough in which Christo Brand relates stories of his time guarding Nelson Mandela, and how the political prisoners of Robben Island turned the jail into a university. These are stories that invite us to reflect not only on what South Africa is teaching the world, but also on what a political commitment to education, teaching and learning can make possible.