South Africa may never fully appreciate the debt of gratitude it owes to former president Nelson Mandela, and his legacy remains one of the driving forces behind positive change in this country.
One person who knew Madiba better than most was his longstanding personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, and she’s now revisiting her relationship with the great man in a six-part documentary series titled Madiba: ‘n Uitsonderlike Roeping.
This series, produced by Carien Loubser, first aired on Sunday, July 28, and the first two episodes are now available on Showmax.
More details on the series below:
Zelda la Grange met Nelson Mandela for the first time in the Presidential Office in Pretoria in 1994. She was a 23 years old typist with a conservative Afrikaner upbringing. He had just been elected as the President of South Africa, after his release from prison after being incarcerated for 27 years.
He walked in, shook her hand and greeted her in Afrikaans. Little did she know that this meeting would change her life forever. Nelson Mandela chose her to be his private secretary and for the next 19 years she traveled around the globe with him. She walked every step with him, saw how he touched the lives of millions of ordinary people, and stayed by his side until his death in 2013.
For thousands of hours she often sat and listened to his childhood stories, memories of his upbringing, events that shaped his life and the struggle years. Yet it only dawned on her after his passing that Nelson Mandela did not merely arrive a statesman and world leader. His destiny was forged from an early age. It is a piece of history we missed, and it’s fascinating.
In this documentary, she has the opportunity, for the first time after his death, to travel back to his past, to discover what shaped this extraordinary man who walked into the Presidential Office that morning in 1994.
The first episode alone feature stories from the likes of Bono, Morgan Freeman, and chief Zwelivelile Mandela, Nelson’s grandson.
Here’s the trailer:
In a time where many ‘woke’ young South Africans question Mandela’s legacy, this series serves as a timely reminder of the sacrifices he made to facilitate the transition to democracy in this country.
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