Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a story of the full depth of human emotion. We are not dealing with an unbiased look at Mr Mandela nor are we dealing with an objective investigation of the RSA in these years. Instead, the reader is introduced to a young Afrikaans about to enter the service of Mr Mandela, unknowing that the next two decades will be heavily influenced by that person.
I think that the important things to keep in mind with this book are exactly the points from above: Ms La Grange’s endeavours in the name of Mr Mandela were an act of personal devotion and it would be impossible for her to be objective about her former boss.
But, in this one case, we should not want objectivity. That would be inhuman. Rather, the words Ms La Grange uses shows what mattered to her and how the society — if only a very small slice of it we hear about as her family — and its mores changed to show near-utmost respect to a very special person in the history of humanity.
The short glimpses of everyday life the reader is granted only reinforce this — and hopefully bring forth the ideas Mr Mandela stood for all his life (equality, humanity and respect to turn it into a catchphrase) as well as ensure that these keep on surviving (and, hopefully, thriving).