Mint Literary Agency

Christopher Brand with Barbara Jones

Christo Brand is the son of a farm foreman from rural South Africa. He served as Nelson Mandela’s prison guard for twelve years, primarily on Robben Island. Today, he still works on Robben Island, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. As manager of the museum’s retail outlets, Christo has been known to reminisce to visitors about his time guarding Mandela and event o give the occasional tour. He lives in Cape Town with his wife, Estelle, and son, Heindrich. His eldest son, Riaan, passed away in 2005.

Barbara Jones is the Africa correspondent for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. She has covered Nelson Mandela since she first met him in 2000. Originally from England, she learned journalism the old-fashioned way, working her way from weekly to evening newspapers before joining the Mail on Sunday. She has two sons and lives in Cape Town.

Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend

Rights Sold
St Martin's Press, 2014.

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 on remote Robben Island, Brand was given charge of the country’s most infamous inmate: Nelson Mandela.

For 12 years Brand watched Mandela scrub floors, empty his toilet bucket, grieve over the deaths of family and friends yet remain as strong as any freedom fighter in history.  Won over by his charm and authentic concern for the well-being of others, Brand became Mandela’s confidant and at times accomplice.  Celebrating triumphs and suffering through many setbacks, the two men formed an unlikely bond, one that would endure until Mandela’s death.

Told with candor and reverence, Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend is both a meditation on friendship and a moving testament to the dedication, determination and—most of all—humanity exuded by one of the world’s great leaders.