Ideas for Leaders was thrilled to be able to host this conversation in our Global Table Conversations series, with two extraordinary men: Terry Waite and Christo Brand.
Listen to the conversation here:
Terry Waite was a household name in the UK for half a decade from 1987, when as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s hostage negotiator in the Lebanon, he was himself captured and held hostage for four years. Since his release in 1991 he has devoted his life to humanitarian causes – and is a respected commentator on managing conflict and reconciliation.
Joining Terry in the conversation will be Christo Brand, who as an 18-year old found himself being Nelson Mandela’s prison warder – a role he would hold until Mandela’s release. The two maintained a close friendship right through to Mandela’s death in 2013.
Below is the summary of Christo from his book, ‘Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend’
Christo Brand was a South African farm boy, born into the Afrikaans culture which had created apartheid to persecute black people and claim superiority for whites. Nelson Mandela, also raised in a rural village, was the black son of a tribal chief. He trained as a lawyer to take up the fight against apartheid on behalf of a whole nation.
Their opposing worlds collided when Christo, a raw recruit from the country’s prison service, was sent to Robben Island to guard the notoriously dangerous terrorists there. Mandela was their undisputed leader. The two of them, a boy of 18 and a long-suffering freedom fighter then aged 60, could well have become bitter enemies.
Instead, they formed an extraordinary friendship through small human kindnesses. Christo, a gentle young man who valued ordinary decency and courtesy, struck a chord with the wise and resilient old freedom fighter who was prepared to die to liberate his people.
The African tribesman in Mandela meant that family was a priority for him, yet he had been sentenced to life imprisonment. When his mother died, he was refused permission to go to her funeral. Mandela, the oldest son whose responsibility was written in blood, wept with shame and despair.
Christo was to witness that despair many times during his years as Mandela’s prison warder. When Winnie secretly brought their tiny granddaughter to Robben Island it was Christo who risked his own freedom to put the baby in Mandela’s arms. Their friendship was sealed by many such shared moments. And the bond of trust between the two men extended beyond Mandela’s prison years.
As President of South Africa, he called for Christo and gave him a job in the archives department in Parliament. He invited Christo and his family into his home and advised his two sons on their careers. A few weeks before his death, Mandela made another call, to say goodbye.
In this conversation Terry and Christo will reflect on their different perspectives of incarceration and how, in certain circumstances, good can come from conflict if the right mindsets can be developed.
I hope you can join us for this unmissable hour and a half.
By registering you will join the free level of the Ideas for Leaders community and be invited to future events. The community who have been joining our earlier conversations holds a wealth of insights, perspectives and experiences – I and the guests will welcome being challenged, inspired, enlightened and energised by participation, insights and questions from the audience.
Our Conversations from around the Global Table are based on World Café and Kitchen Table methodologies for exchanging views and information, they are informal and wide-ranging but require an open-mind and a willingness to participate.
The event is free to attend, please register through this Eventbrite page – and once registered you will receive the link to use to attend the session on Zoom.
The event will run at 8am PDT/11am EDT/4pm BST/5pm CEDT/6pm Kenya/7pm Dubai/8.30pm India/11pm Singapore.
** We will be running the 8th Global Table Conversation with Alice Bromage discussing her work with the Black Mambas – Africa’s only all-female anti-poaching unit – on Thursday 2nd July, at the same time – if you would like to register for that too please register here. **
Here are some links to our first Conversation recordings:
- Conversation with Maasai Elder, Emmanuel Mankura
- Conversation on innovation with concert pianist, Orit Wolf
- Conversation on Falling in Love with Change with Pam Warren
I look forward to you joining me for the conversation then,
CEO and Founder – Ideas for Leaders