Wichita State University and the City of Wichita, in cooperation with Watermark Books, are hosting a Gordon Parks Lecture Series event, "A Conversation with Christo Brand," at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, in the Lowe Auditorium at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 E. 29th St. N. The event is free and open to the public.
Brand is the author of the recent book "Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend," the story of his unlikely friendship with South Africa's future president and Nobel Laureate. A white, Afrikaner farm boy, Brand grew up in the apartheid culture that persecuted the country's black people and claimed superiority for whites. He met Nelson Mandela as a raw recruit in South Africa's prison service as a guard at Robben Island, where Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years as a political prisoner. For Brand, proximity with the reputed terrorist leader dispelled the myths of apartheid, and through small kindnesses – risking his own freedom – the 18-year-old warden formed a lifelong friendship with the 60-year-old freedom fighter.
Brand's friendship with Mandela continued beyond Robbin Island. When Mandela became president of South Africa, he called for Brand and gave him a job in the archives department of the Parliament, and a few weeks before his death, Mandela made one more call to say goodbye. The book is the first time Brand has shared his story.
Brand will be interviewed at the event by Wichita State University Vice President and General Counsel Ted Ayres. Copies of "Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend" will be made available by Watermark Books at the event, and a signing will follow the interview.
For more information, visit the Watermark Books website at watermarkbooks.com/event, or call Ted Ayres at 316-978-6791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A photograph is available at http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/wsunews/newsrelease/highres/?pid=4713.