- Christo Brand served as Nelson Mandela's guard at Robben Island
- He has worked as a tour guide at Robben Island Museum for the past 20 years
- He has retired and has defended Madiba's legacy
Christo Brand, the man who served as former president Nelson Mandela's guard at Robben Island and Pollsmoor prisons, has announced his retirement.
Over the past 20 years, he has worked as a tour guide at Robben Island Museum, Briefly.co.za gathered.
According to IOL, Christo was only 19 years old when he was first deployed to Robben Island in 1978. There, he met Madiba, who was then described as a "dangerous criminal."
In an interview with IOL, Christo said he was shocked to see how the prisoners, many of who were already elderly, were treated. He therefore made a point to accord them greater care.
In 1982, he moved with Mandela and other political prisoners to Pollsmoor Prison, where negotiations with the apartheid regime eventually started.
Christo reminisced about how he and Madiba became friends:
One of my memories is when I smuggled in the baby for Mandela and that’s really when we became friends.
In total, he guarded Madiba for 12 years. When apartheid ended, he moved to Parliament, but returned to Robben Island when the museum was established.
Christo defended Mandela against criticism that he betrayed his people:
I think the youth are uninformed about Mandela. It’s very easy to criticise him and say he was a sellout but they weren’t there and didn’t see the sacrifices made.
He now plans to help keep the icon's legacy alive through his book, Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend. He will also continue working in the tourism sector.
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