Zelda la Grange

Zelda la Grange was born in Apartheid South Africa. After completing school she obtained a 3 year National Diploma as Executive Secretary. Her career started at the Department of State Expenditure in 1992 from where she applied for a job in the office of the first democratically elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Fate and circumstance ended Zelda in a position working for the Private Office of President Mandela in October 1994.

In 1997 she was promoted to become one of President Mandela’s 3 Private Secretaries and when he retired from office he chose Zelda to remain working for him beyond his term in office.

The post-Presidential office was started and together with Professor Jakes Gerwel Zelda helped establish the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

She worked for President Mandela until his passing on 5 December 2013. Over the almost 20 years her role changed from Private Secretary to Office Manager, Stakeholder relationship Manager, Spokesperson, Aide-de-Camp and personal assistant.

In June 2014 Zelda published her memoir, the International best seller “Good Morning, Mr Mandela”.

She has been awarded by several organisations for her dedication and service to the late statesman notably a Frederik van Zyl Slabbert fellow, Pretoria Business chamber Woman of the Year, Rapport/City Press Woman of the Year, Pretoria University of Technology Alumni of the Year and the Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest recognition awarded by Rotary International.

Between 2013 – 2015 she worked part-time for the Foundation for Professional development lecturing on strategic leadership.

In 2018 Zelda co-produced an award winning 6 part documentary series titled “A Glorious Human Achievement” which she narrates, looking at the people and places that shaped the character of Nelson Mandela.

She was a co-presenter for 4 seasons on a woman’s television talk show for a local television channel.

In 2022 she established the Zelda la Grange Foundation focusing on assisting and supporting children in foster care to develop to their full potential.

In 2023 she joined the Board of Trustees of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation which works at strengthening democracy and advocating for non-racialism.

She is an international keynote speaker since 2009, traveling the world to share her experiences and the legacy of the person she called “Khulu” (grandfather in Xhosa).

She is currently working on her second book, to be released coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death.