(page 31) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Page 31 of Nelson Mandela's Warders
Description: Page 31 of Nelson Mandela's Warders
Transcript: ‘Everywhere was bugged,’ recalls Brand. ‘The cells, the visiting rooms, the telephones. Even at home my phone was bugged. Once Mandela asked to use a private office with his lawyer and the head of the prison let him use his office, but that was also bugged. Sometimes National Intelligence would put a bug onto me. They told me to ask Mandela some questions. Once it was about what he would do if Winnie got another man. He said he would respect that. Then when [President P W] Botha wanted to offer him indemnity [a conditional release] I had to ask him what he would say. I would give Mandela a warning that I was bugged. I told him if I show you my ears then you know I am bugged. I never carried a bug that he didn’t know about. So when I asked [about the release] he told the government what he wanted them to hear. Everything was recorded, even the legal conversations. Then every week we would phone National Intelligence and the Security Police and tell them a box of “wielle” was ready for them.’
Brand had closer contact with Mandela now. He worked with him in what Mandela called his ‘garden in the sky’, and was usually part of the contingent that took Mandela on medical visits and scenic drives. These drives Mandela regarded as the prisons department’s way of integrating him back into society. They even included a visit to Brand’s house, where Mandela was introduced to Brand’s wife. Brand also remembers taking Mandela across the road from the prison to walk among the vines on the Steenberg wine farm (now a golf estate).
‘Mandela was worried that the farmer would shoot us if we picked grapes,’ recalls Brand. ‘But I told him no it was okay, I’d fixed it up, he could pick a few. Another time we walked around Pollsmoor near the dam. There were some children fishing there. He went and talked to them. Afterwards he said he was worried that they might drown.’
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