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Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Raised in a multi-ethnic farming community, Afrikaner Christo Brand was confused and saddened when he first confronted the realities of South African apartheid.  Conscripted into the military at 18, Brand chose to serve as a prison guard rather than embrace the brutality and danger inherent in the work of soldiers and policemen.  Assigned to the maximum security facility o ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Sharon Metcalf
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, audiobook
Many years ago I read Nelson Mandela's memoir Long Walk To Freedom and was thoroughly impressed by the man although many of the details had been long forgotten. So, I particularly enjoyed having my memory refreshed as I listened to Christo Brand's memoir, Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend.

Christo Brand, an Afrikaner boy from a rural farming area had grown up relatively free from the impacts of apartheid. Sure his father owned the farm and had coloured people working for him but by his account the
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story of an unlikely friendship that lasted decades.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audible while driving through South Africa which was really interesting. It was such a unique perspective on Mandela's life in prison and after, and it just makes me want to read more. I still haven't read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and we didn't listen to that since it was more hours than we had in the car, but I really want to now. What an incredible person he was, and hearing about the friendship he developed with a person whose job it was to guard him ...more
Dee Halzack
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-biography
Fascinating book by a man who became friends with Mandela while serving as his warder (prison guard). Interesting look at the period leading to his becoming the president of South Africa, with interesting glimpses of behind-scenes developments. Also really showed the humanity of Mandela in ways no one else could have.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Duane Timm
I was in South Africa this year, spending some time in Cape Town with 6 friends. We were fortunate to meet with Christo Brand one evening and he discussed his book and the time he spend getting to know and respect Nelson Mandela. Reading the book I learned about both men and how their friendship and respect for each other grew over the years.

27 years in prison! Mandela and his fellow Rivonians encouraged each other while imprisoned and impressed other prisoners with their peace-minded attitudes
Laura Pugh
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and truly inspiring. Christo Brand (Mandela's warder) has a very straight-forward writing style, which I personally liked. In addition to the incredible lives led by Mandela and his fellow prisoners, it is fascinating to read a first hand account of a white working class young man growing up during the Apartheid, finding himself stationed with the political prisoners, and becoming a friend of the men he guarded, both during and after their time in prison.
Felipe Antunes
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excelente livro para conhecer o lado humano do Mandela e seus hábitos e relações na prisão.
Amrit singh
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This world is full of wonderful people 😘😁
deborah calmeyer
One of the best books I’ve ever read

So worthwhile ! I really recommend reading this account of what humanity can over come, absolutely remarkable and
So inspirational
Annmarie Harrison
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Emotive and inspiring. Glad I read it, Mandela's story makes me want to be a better person.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this a fascinating read. It recounts much of Mandela's years of incarceration and is written by one of the warders. Christo Brand wanted to avoid military service and so decided to sign up for service in the prison system. When he finished his basic training, he was sent to Robben Island and told he'd be caring for some of the nation's most notorious and dangerous prisoners. Nelson Mandela and the other Rivonians may have seemed dangerous to the government, but Brand found them courteou ...more
Sarah Snow
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Inspiring story that shows extending kindness even in the darkest of situations can have positive results.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This is far from great literature - there are many places where I wanted a bit more detail about Mr. Brand's life, and the prose is workmanlike, not beautiful - but it is a very worthwhile story. If there are a couple of statements I found jarring at the end, there's still a lot of warmth and a fairly vivid picture of Mr. Mandela. So this book achieves its purpose. I think it should prove popular, and I am glad I bought it for the library. Recommended for adults and older teens, who will empathi ...more
Karina Charris
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's incredible how some people come to your life in the most unexpected ways, but at the end, you realize that there was a purpose behind it. This is what happened with christo brand and madiba, a very unlikely friendship that lasted for decades and it had a beautiful purpose on it. Discover through the pages how christo's personality and view point changes with each contact with this inspiring leader. Highly recommended.
Joe Beer
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The book tells the story of an Afrikaans farmboy that becomes a prison warder. He worked on Robben Island, at Pollsmoor and Viktor Verster prisons. Many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were there at the same time.

I enjoyed the book although it is not going to win an award. Only gripe with the audible version is that the narrator should've been South African to improve on the pronunciation of many of the local words, but not too serious
Anna Ciddor
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Listened on audio, inspirational, though some bits a bit upsetting. Brand was one of Mandela's warders in prison.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved it! An amazing story.
Danielle Antosz
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic story. Not the entirety of mandalas life, just what his warden and later friend experienced. Easy to read, not too dry.
Petr Boška
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary story of an extraordinary man.
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