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ODs have breakfast in the House of Lords to hear Christo Brand's story of his relationship with Nelson Mandela

ODs in the House of Lords
ODs in the House of Lords
This year, the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth, has seen a flurry of publications, documentaries, reminiscences and talks on the great man. Everyone, it seems, was Mandela's closest friend, intimate confidante and personal advisor. Pretenders most of them, but one who is the real thing is Christo Brand who at the age of 18 became Madiba's guard on Robben Island. Over the rest of Mandela's life, including his transfer to the mainland, release from jail, President of South Africa and then, finally as a pensioner, Christo remained at Mandela's side, initially as his guard and over time, his extraordinarily close friend.

Christo's story is told in his recently-released book, Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend. He also tells his story in person at functions such as the breakfast the UK ODs held in the House of Lords on Friday 15th June, hosted by Lord St John of Bletso (Anthony St John (G, 1974)).

Before breakfast, Anthony led ODs on an intriguing and captivating tour of the House of Lords giving us access to rooms and secrets not usually accessible to the general public.

After the tour, we sat down to breakfast in the Attlee Room. There Anthony welcomed everyone in his customary erudite and witty style. In particular, he welcomed Andreas Payne (an Old Haileyburian and parliamentary assistant to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond) and Clive During, an Old RBHS. Anthony outlined the importance of understanding and supporting the transformation in South Africa which now with a new President, has taken on greater focus and urgency and, dare we expect it, increased accountability and governance.

Anthony also welcomed Simon Peile (F, 1979) Chairman of the Bishops College Council who was in London for the week. Simon outlined the purpose of his trip - setting in motion the succession process for the new Bishops Principal and meeting with British headmasters and school governors of the top schools in the country.

To read the full report and see all the photos, click HERE.

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