Christo Brand is attending the Nelson Mandela Lecture with his family Andrew Russell, Abigail Russell and Charmaine Beukes. Picture: Khanyisile Ngcobo/IOL

Johannesburg - Christo Brand, the man who was Nelson Mandela's guard during his incarceration, was one of the many who attended his annual lecture on Tuesday morning. Brand arrived at Robben Island in 1978 where he started working as a guard.

 At the time, Mandela had already been a political prisoner there for 16 years.

When Mandela was later moved to Pollsmoor Prison as well as Victor Verster Prison, Brand was there all along.

Brand, who attended the lecture at the Wanderers Stadium with family said he was very happy that Mandela was still being honoured to this day.
“I feel very happy that they’re still recognising Mandela. He was my prisoner for many years, I guarded him on Robben Island and Pollsmoor, and to see all these people… his presence will be felt.

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“He was a global icon and I hope young people can understand what he was fighting for, what he was struggling for and why he was in prison.”

Brand also shared his thoughts on whether the present day South Africa was one Mandela would be proud of, saying that while much still needed to be done, a lot of strides had been made since apartheid ended. Former US president Barack Obama was expected to deliver the lecture in the afternoon. The lecture is themed: “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”.

The 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation and the Obama Foundation.

The lecture was expected to draw thousands of people.

The Star