As his beautiful entitled book “GOING TO THE MOUNTAIN: Life Lessons from my Grandfather, Nelson Mandela” hits the book stalls, Alt A managed to get an exclusive interview with the grandson of Nelson Mandela. Ndaba Mandela, who was raised by Mandela on his release from prison, talks about growing up with the remarkable might of his grandfather’s love and the political warrior who brought down Apartheid in South Africa.
- When did you realise that your Grandfather was Nelson Mandela?
I realised he was my grandfather when we met him at Victor Verster Prison just before he was released in 1990 as my parents told me we were going to visit our grandfather in jail.
2. Tell us about the book “GOING TO THE MOUNTAIN: Life Lessons from My Grandfather”?
I wrote this book mainly for the younger people. Younger people don’t really understand the value Nelson Mandela played as a leader in the world. I wanted them to relate to Madiba as a grandfather because all kids have a grandparent that they can remember telling them a story or schooling them. When you talk about Madiba as a President and a great Icon then kids don’t relate as much. I want to make sure that kids get inspired by my story to find the leader inside of them.
3. Why did you think it was important to share those lessons?
I think it’s important to share these lessons so that young people can understand what leadership is about. So that they may apply it in their own lives. I want young people to understand that they are the masters of their destiny and they can achieve anything they set their mind to and that we can all be leaders in our own right.
4. Can you share some of the lessons that you have put in the book?
That a leader must be humble. It’s very important to be able to be accessible to the people you serve as a leader. People should see you as one of their own even though they never grew up with you, they must feel that you feel their pain and that you truly care about the cause you are pushing or fighting for. Humility goes with compassion. Understand that everyone has value no matter their age, sex or social status or demographic and background. We all have the potential to achieve greatness.
5. What are some of your fondest memories of living with Mr Mandela?
I loved how we would tell me about Miriam Makeba, his favourite musician and how he would dance to the song “pata pata”. I loved when he was in a good mood he would tell us about growing up in the countryside with his cousins. How he was obsessed with people’s stomach and being overweight. When he felt the need, he would tell fat people to lose weight as it wasn’t healthy for them to be so big. I miss his love for sour milk and mush, sap and beans.
6. What was the one most important lesson you learnt from your grandfather?
That it is harder for a person to be taught to hate then for a person to be taught to love, because love comes much more natural to the human condition than hate.
7. Was he a strict Grandfather?
He was quite strict. he was a soldier himself and became the 1st commander in Chief of the Military arm of the ANC. So, he always liked things to be in an orderly fashion. If my room was dirty and messy and he saw it, he would make me clean it up and tell me not to live like a pig and keep my space clean as that showed I cared about my environment and gave a glimpse into my character.
8. What would you like people to remember the most about Mr Mandela’s legacy?
I like them to remember that Mandela sacrificed everything including his own family for the pursuit of justice, human rights and democracy for his nation of South Africa. That he was a humble man who believed in the good of people and he was a very proud African and believed in the African Customs of our Madiba tribe. That Madiba was the first person who had the courage to train himself and his comrades to use military tactics against the Apartheid regime.
9. Why did you go and live with him?
I went to live with him because he told me do so. he took my father and mother to university and then took me, so they can focus on their studies.
10. How much has Mr Mandela shaped the man you have become today?
He has shaped me immensely in so many ways but of course I have my own journey and challenges to face and overcome.
11. Are your hopeful of a better South Africa, how does SA keep moving forward?
I am very hopeful for a better South Africa. First, our last president resigned after lots of pressure. We have a new president now that will take our country to new dispensation. I just hope he doesn’t forget to leverage off the energy of the youth and to really empower them in a sustainable manner. I’m hopeful that our people are going to get their rightful land back so that they can get the skills they need to be able to turn thatland into productive land, so they can break the cycle of poverty.
12. What is the new Soweto?
The new Soweto is a melting pot of cultures, nations and people who believe in opportunities. It’s a safe place for tourists to visit, it’s a great place for new entrepreneurs and a great place to test your products and services for the working class.
13. Tell us about Africa Rising?
We are an organisation that is committed to you to empowerment through education, technology, entrepreneurship development and celebrating African Culture. We have a computer programme course for high school kids and unemployed youth, we have an agricultural project that seeks to 1. promote household farming considering food security. 2. We try to promote the Agricultural business in youth by creating competitions where they compete sowing the vegetables they grew themselves from the seeds we provide. for more info www.arfoundation.co
To buy “GOING TO THE MOUNTAIN: Life Lessons from my Grandfather, Nelson Mandela” go to: www.amazon.co.uk Hardcover £10:17 RRP: £14.99. Image credit: