Sat, Jan 04, 2014 - Page 10 News List

Mandela’s closest aide tells of her life with ‘beloved Madiba’

South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela, left, leaves his office in Johannesburg with Mandela’s long-time private assistant Zelda la Grange on March 4, 2008.

Photo: AFP

Zelda la Grange joined the presidential typing pool in 1994. She soon won Mandela’s trust and went on to become his right-hand woman.

For 16 years, Zelda la Grange was the constant companion at Nelson Mandela’s side. It gave her unrivalled access to world leaders from Bill Clinton to Muammar Gaddafi.

Mandela was a tough and demanding but irreplaceable boss, she recalls.

“He was straightforward, but I have to say he wasn’t a pushover. If he’d made up his mind about something, he stuck to that.”

Mandela has been criticized for maintaining warm relations with leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

La Grange explained, “Madiba never condoned the things that Gaddafi did wrong, but the fact that he delivered on his promise meant a lot to Madiba because it showed him there was a relationship based on trust.

“Gaddafi was so hospitable whenever we went to Libya. He would ask Madiba, ‘What would you like to be prepared for supper?’ There’s very few other heads of state who went to the trouble to ask Madiba what he wanted to eat.”

(Liberty Times)










1. pushover n.

容易讓步的人 (rong2 yi4 rang4 bu4 de5 ren2)

例: He is a pushover because he doesn’t have the ability to think critically.


2. stick to v. phr.

堅持;堅守;遵循 (jian1 chi2; jian1 shou3; zun1 xun2)

例: Chris will definitely stick to his decision.


3. go to the trouble v. phr.


(bu2 pa4 ma2 fan2; fei4 xin1 li4 zuo4 mo3 shi4)

例: Don’t go to the trouble to cook. I’ve already had supper.


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