St. Petersburg, FL (November 10, 2015) – Christo Brand, Nelson Mandela’s former prison guard and friend, will speak at the November 17th Willis Leadership Lecture at Shorecrest Preparatory School at 10:50am.
The Willis Leadership Lecture series invites four esteemed speakers annually to address the Shorecrest community. The theme for 2015 is “Race, Justice and Equality.”
During a recent trip to South Africa, the Jacobson family, Marc, Lisa, and Shorecrest students, Jordan and Eric, met Mr. Brand and have been instrumental in coordinating his visit to Shorecrest, Academy Prep and Eckerd College.
Brand was born the son of a farm foreman in South Africa’s Western Cape. He spent his early years knowing little about the cruel Apartheid regime that prevailed elsewhere in the country. Conscripted to the military at age eighteen, he elected not to join the notoriously brutal police or army and trained instead as a prison guard. Brand was assigned to Robben Island to guard those presumed to be the most dangerous men in South Africa – Nelson Mandela and his fellow revolutionaries.
Against all odds, he and Mandela formed a lasting friendship. Brand helped Mandela bend the prison’s rules and endure its hardships, while Mandela took an active interest in Brand’s emerging family and career, continuing to act as a mentor and friend long after his release.
Today, Brand still works at Robben Island, now a World Heritage Site. There he manages the museum bookstore and recounts his experiences to thousands of visitors each year. He is also the author of the 2014 book Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend.
Founded in 1923, Shorecrest Preparatory School is a preschool through 12th grade independent school located in St. Petersburg, Florida. By offering its families choice, support, and balance, Shorecrest graduates empathetic, independent thinkers who succeed at the university level, pursue their passions, and lead purposeful lives. Learn more at www.shorecrest.org.