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Zelda’s Madiba book flying off shelves

ZELDA la Grange’s book, Good Morning, Mr Mandela, was in high demand when it hit bookstore shelves on Thursday.

Exclusive Books in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon said it was the best-selling book for the day and they had sold almost 100 copies in less than six hours.

Flavia Kirunda holds the book by Zelda la Grange entitled Good Morning, Mr Mandela after buying it from Merriam Sebati of Exclusive Books in Brooklyn Mall. Credit: Phill Magakoe

One out of every 10 books sold was Good Morning, Mr Mandela – the story of Madiba’s personal assistant, La Grange, who worked for him for 19 years.

It tells the story of a young Afrikaner girl, an awkward typist, who spent most of her adult life working and travelling with a man she called “grandfather”.

She remained in his service even after his retirement from the Presidency.

An Exclusive’s cashier said: “People have been asking for the book long before it was available on the shelves. They reserved copies and ordered in advance.”

The book became available at 9.30am on Thursday and since then a constant stream of curious readers have poured in to get their hands on a copy.

By 3.30pm, almost 40 Afrikaans copies and more than 50 English copies had been sold. “We haven’t even had time to sit down,” the cashier said.

Another cashier said it was unusual for a book to be so popular.

“Normally we have books that are popular over an extended period and that always sell well. The response to this book has been enormous,” she said.

Customer Flavia Kirunda came out especially to buy the book.

She met Madiba in 2006, when she was invited to his Houghton home for tea with him and his wife Graça Machel. It was his birthday and she brought him a gift.

“I have a picture of me and him. I couldn’t sleep the night before I was supposed to meet him. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

On July 2, a book with a compilation of stories from people who met Mandela, called Our Madiba, will be published. Kirunda’s story is included in the book. “He was such a towering figure but so human and so humble. It was awesome to have met him,” she said.

Heidi Stuart, another customer, said she bought the book because she would like to read about “Zelda’s perception” of what happened. “I also want to take the book to my book club,” she said.

She didn’t mind paying more than R300 for her copy.

“I hope I get my money’s worth when I read it,” she said. - Pretoria News

Twitter: @LalivZ

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