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Zelda le Grange was born in apartheid South Africa. After her secondary education, she completed a 3 year National Diploma and she started her career in 1992 at the Department of State Expenditure and in 1994, she applied for a job in the Office of the Presidency.
In 1997, she was promoted to become one of the three Private Secretaries in President Mandela’s personal staff and in 1999, he requested that she remain in his services beyond retirement.
Together with Professor Jakes Gerwel, Zelda was the only other founding staff member of the post-Presidential Office of Mr Nelson Mandela from where the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established.
Zelda served Mr Mandela for 19 years in different capacities until his death on the 5th of December 2013.
She has been awarded by a number of organisations for her dedication and service to the late Nelson Mandela. She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation and Beeld Kinderfonds and she annually acts as a co-ordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day.
She is also a part-time employee of the Foundation for Professional Development. She continues to inspire people through motivational speaking by sharing her life experiences.
On the 19th of June 2014, she published her memoires entitled, ‘Good Morning, Mr Mandela’. It is a story of love and hope in which Zelda shares her life and how serving Nelson Mandela for 19 years had impacted her life. View list of Premium Speakers
In December 2014, her book was announced to be the ‘Best Seller’ of the year in South Africa.
Her book has been translated in 9 languages to be distributed in 13 countries, in addition to all of the commonwealth countries.
As an inspirational speaker, Zelda la Grange has mesmerised audiences throughout South Africa and the world. With her unique ability to convey her time as Madiba’s personal aide in the form of anecdotes and stories to her audience in a way that is always fondly remembered, La Grange is changing lives one speech and event at a time.
She uses anecdotes of her experiences through life to convey lessons related to discipline, leadership, respect, integrity, honesty and transparency. Because of her vast field of experiences her speech can be tailor made to apply and focus on the theme of any conference.
Zelda also doubles as an effective moderator. Having served Nelson Mandela in different capacities her unique outlook on life, inspired by one of the greatest statesmen of our time, provides an ideal opportunity for any company to benefit from her experiences. Her experiences have brought about a complete metamorphosis within her thinking and attitude towards others and life in general.
She is thus the perfect candidate to moderate debates, public speaking events, conference discussions or any event that would need such a service to be performed.
As a moderator, Zelda le Grange will act as a neutral participant in a debate or discussion, will hold participants to time limits and try to keep them from straying off the topic of the questions being raised in the debate. She may at times also ask questions intended to allow the debate participants to fully develop their argument in order to ensure the debate moves at pace.
Author - Good Morning, Mr Mandela
Zelda la Grange grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation. Yet just a few years after the end of Apartheid she would become a most trusted assistant to Nelson Mandela, growing to respect and cherish the man she had been taught was the enemy.
Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young typist in her twenties later chosen to become the President’s most loyal and devoted servants, spending most of her adult working life travelling with, supporting and caring for the man she would come to call ‘Khulu’, or ‘grandfather’.
Here Zelda pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him – a teacher who gave her the most valuable lessons of her life. A man who refused to be defined by his past, who forgave and respected all, but who was also frank, teasing and direct. As he renewed his country, he also freed Zelda from a closed world of fear and mistrust, giving her life true meaning. Now she shares his lasting and inspiring gifts with the world.
This is a book about love and second chances. It will touch your life and make you believe that every one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, has the power to change.