Driving the president

2018-04-03 06:02
Markus Griebelaar and JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services. PHOTO: aishah cassiem

Markus Griebelaar and JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services. PHOTO: aishah cassiem

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The City of Cape Town’s Grassy Park Library in Victoria Road was the official venue for a book launch of the bio­graphy of Marcus Griebelaar on Thursday morning. The Grassy Park resident launched his first book titled Marcus Griebelaar – Driving Mandela in the presence of his proud family, community and City officials on the day.

The book, written by Granaylia Murphy, tells the story of Griebelaar who spent more than 12 years of his life as the official driver and bodyguard to former president Nelson Mandela. Speaking to a huge crowd, who were anxiously waiting to hear about his journey with the late icon, the author struggled to hold back his emotions as he recalled his first day on duty.

“It was in 1994 that I first started driving the president. I was sitting in the car waiting for him to arrive. I was nervous and did not sleep at all the night before. As he approached the vehicle, I could immediately feel a sense of calm entering the space. He got in and said ‘Good day, big man’ and I replied ‘Good day, Mr President. I am Marcus and I will be your new driver’,” he says.

“It still feels unreal and it feels like just yesterday when I started driving the president. Sometimes I can still see Mandela in my mirror while driving. The middle mirror inside the car was the most important one, because I had to make sure he was okay. In my book, I give the public a small glimpse into my journey as Mandela’s official driver and the simple acts of kindness and the truly humbled character he had towards me and many others.”

Griebelaar recalls one of his greatest memories with the president in February 1996, as explained in his book.

“During this period my wife gave birth to our daughter and Mandela wanted to see for himself why I was not at work. He came all the way to Grassy Park to pay a visit to my family and specifically my five-day-old daughter. This was a huge surprise, as he took time out of his busy schedule to meet his driver’s new baby. I have never heard of any president who does this and who goes looking for his driver. It was memorable­.”

“The book also speaks about my life growing up in Grassy Park, working as a policeman at the community police station and taking various VIP and protection courses leading to how I ended up as the president’s driver. I will not talk much about my book because I want the public to read it themselves and to enjoy the memories of the president’s driver as much I enjoyed being his driver.”

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, was also present to congratulate Griebelaar on the release of his book.

“I know Griebelaar personally and the book provides a glimpse not just into his life, but also allows every reader to accompany him on a part of his journey with Mandela. The late president was a world treasure and in this biography we are reminded of the many life lessons he left us,” says Smith.

“These stories and anecdotes are an important part of our country’s history. It is also in the lives of those who have changed our world that we find inspiration. Griebelaar is a humble and shy man. I encouraged him to share his experience as encouragement. Griebelaar had a special relationship and friendship with Mandela.

“In the book he gives us a unique perspective on their bond and insight into the man who was a world icon, but who treated everyone equally. This is indeed is an auspicious occasion and I am excited that the book has seen the light. This is the story of the remarkable lives of two men. Read and learn from the priceless lessons of their experiences and get to know more about the man who was, arguably, this country’s greatest president,” adds Smith.

Griebelaar still enjoys his work as a driver and has been employed by the City as a chauffeur for the past four years. Smith encourages the public to purchase a copy of the book at a cost of R220.

The book will also be available at City libraries as from this month.

V For more information, email Marcus Grieblaar at Grieblaarmarcus46@gmail.com. V See more pictures on page 2.

The City of Cape Town’s Grassy Park Library in Victoria Road was the official venue for a book launch of the bio­graphy of Marcus Griebelaar on Thursday morning. The Grassy Park resident launched his first book titled Marcus Griebelaar – Driving Mandela in the presence of his proud family, community and City officials on the day.

The book, written by Granaylia Murphy, tells the story of Griebelaar who spent more than 12 years of his life as the official driver and bodyguard to former president Nelson Mandela. Speaking to a huge crowd, who were anxiously waiting to hear about his journey with the late icon, the author struggled to hold back his emotions as he recalled his first day on duty.

“It was in 1994 that I first started driving the president. I was sitting in the car waiting for him to arrive. I was nervous and did not sleep at all the night before. As he approached the vehicle, I could immediately feel a sense of calm entering the space. He got in and said ‘Good day, big man’ and I replied ‘Good day, Mr President. I am Marcus and I will be your new driver’,” he says.

“It still feels unreal and it feels like just yesterday when I started driving the president. Sometimes I can still see Mandela in my mirror while driving. The middle mirror inside the car was the most important one, because I had to make sure he was okay. In my book, I give the public a small glimpse into my journey as Mandela’s official driver and the simple acts of kindness and the truly humbled character he had towards me and many others.”

Griebelaar recalls one of his greatest memories with the president in February 1996, as explained in his book.

“During this period my wife gave birth to our daughter and Mandela wanted to see for himself why I was not at work. He came all the way to Grassy Park to pay a visit to my family and specifically my five-day-old daughter. This was a huge surprise, as he took time out of his busy schedule to meet his driver’s new baby. I have never heard of any president who does this and who goes looking for his driver. It was memorable­.”

“The book also speaks about my life growing up in Grassy Park, working as a policeman at the community police station and taking various VIP and protection courses leading to how I ended up as the president’s driver. I will not talk much about my book because I want the public to read it themselves and to enjoy the memories of the president’s driver as much I enjoyed being his driver.”

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, was also present to congratulate Griebelaar on the release of his book.

“I know Griebelaar personally and the book provides a glimpse not just into his life, but also allows every reader to accompany him on a part of his journey with Mandela. The late president was a world treasure and in this biography we are reminded of the many life lessons he left us,” says Smith.

“These stories and anecdotes are an important part of our country’s history. It is also in the lives of those who have changed our world that we find inspiration. Griebelaar is a humble and shy man. I encouraged him to share his experience as encouragement. Griebelaar had a special relationship and friendship with Mandela.

“In the book he gives us a unique perspective on their bond and insight into the man who was a world icon, but who treated everyone equally. This is indeed is an auspicious occasion and I am excited that the book has seen the light. This is the story of the remarkable lives of two men. Read and learn from the priceless lessons of their experiences and get to know more about the man who was, arguably, this country’s greatest president,” adds Smith.

Griebelaar still enjoys his work as a driver and has been employed by the City as a chauffeur for the past four years. Smith encourages the public to purchase a copy of the book at a cost of R220.

The book will also be available at City libraries as from this month.

V For more information, email Marcus Grieblaar at Grieblaarmarcus46@gmail.com.

The City of Cape Town’s Grassy Park Library in Victoria Road was the official venue for a book launch of the bio­graphy of Marcus Griebelaar on Thursday morning. The Grassy Park resident launched his first book titled Marcus Griebelaar – Driving Mandela in the presence of his proud family, community and City officials on the day.

The book, written by Granaylia Murphy, tells the story of Griebelaar who spent more than 12 years of his life as the official driver and bodyguard to former president Nelson Mandela. Speaking to a huge crowd, who were anxiously waiting to hear about his journey with the late icon, the author struggled to hold back his emotions as he recalled his first day on duty.

“It was in 1994 that I first started driving the president. I was sitting in the car waiting for him to arrive. I was nervous and did not sleep at all the night before. As he approached the vehicle, I could immediately feel a sense of calm entering the space. He got in and said ‘Good day, big man’ and I replied ‘Good day, Mr President. I am Marcus and I will be your new driver’,” he says.

“It still feels unreal and it feels like just yesterday when I started driving the president. Sometimes I can still see Mandela in my mirror while driving. The middle mirror inside the car was the most important one, because I had to make sure he was okay. In my book, I give the public a small glimpse into my journey as Mandela’s official driver and the simple acts of kindness and the truly humbled character he had towards me and many others.”

Griebelaar recalls one of his greatest memories with the president in February 1996, as explained in his book.

“During this period my wife gave birth to our daughter and Mandela wanted to see for himself why I was not at work. He came all the way to Grassy Park to pay a visit to my family and specifically my five-day-old daughter. This was a huge surprise, as he took time out of his busy schedule to meet his driver’s new baby. I have never heard of any president who does this and who goes looking for his driver. It was memorable­.”

“The book also speaks about my life growing up in Grassy Park, working as a policeman at the community police station and taking various VIP and protection courses leading to how I ended up as the president’s driver. I will not talk much about my book because I want the public to read it themselves and to enjoy the memories of the president’s driver as much I enjoyed being his driver.”

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, was also present to congratulate Griebelaar on the release of his book.

“I know Griebelaar personally and the book provides a glimpse not just into his life, but also allows every reader to accompany him on a part of his journey with Mandela. The late president was a world treasure and in this biography we are reminded of the many life lessons he left us,” says Smith.

“These stories and anecdotes are an important part of our country’s history. It is also in the lives of those who have changed our world that we find inspiration. Griebelaar is a humble and shy man. I encouraged him to share his experience as encouragement. Griebelaar had a special relationship and friendship with Mandela.

“In the book he gives us a unique perspective on their bond and insight into the man who was a world icon, but who treated everyone equally. This is indeed is an auspicious occasion and I am excited that the book has seen the light. This is the story of the remarkable lives of two men. Read and learn from the priceless lessons of their experiences and get to know more about the man who was, arguably, this country’s greatest president,” adds Smith.

Griebelaar still enjoys his work as a driver and has been employed by the City as a chauffeur for the past four years. Smith encourages the public to purchase a copy of the book at a cost of R220.

The book will also be available at City libraries as from this month.

V For more information, email Marcus Grieblaar at Grieblaarmarcus46@gmail.com. V See more pictures on page 2.

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