Zelda la Grange: I’d work for Thuli Madonsela

Zelda la Grange doesn’t have political ambitions – but the one person she would work for is Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Nelson Mandela’s former private secretary spoke about her best-selling book Good Morning Mr Mandela at Kelvin Grove in Cape Town over lunch today.

“If I had to work for anybody again, that would be Thuli,” she said.

Responding to questions, La Grange said she attended Graça Machel’s 69th birthday party over the weekend.

She said Machel still misses her husband, who died in December – but is “coping”.

In her book, La Grange relates how she and Machel initially had differences, but eventually became close friends.

Today she considers Machel a second mother, she said.

The woman who became known as one of Madiba’s pillars of strength, said her biggest concern for South Africa was people treating each other with a lack of respect.

“I saw De Klerk and Madiba arguing and debating, but they never disrespected each other once,” she said.

It wasn’t all serious, though: commenting on South Africa’s other famous blonde, she said: “I get asked who will play me in the film based on the book. I think maybe Charlize Theron although she’s a bit skinny.”

La Grange – or Zeldina as Mandela liked to call her – has been very busy promoting her book since its worldwide release on June 19.

Today also marked her 44th birthday – she was born in Pretoria in 1970 – and the crowd sang to her before queuing to have copies signed.

La Grange described the book’s 368 pages as “An easy read. It’s not academic, it’s my journey in my own words.”

The crowd included the anti-arms deal campaigner, Terry Crawford-Browne.

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