Zelda la Grange was born in apartheid South Africa. After her secondary education, she completed a 3-year National Diploma. She started her career in 1992 at the Department of State Expenditure and in 1994 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. 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 5 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 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 June 19th 2014 she published her memoirs 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 has had an impact on her life. In December 2014, her book was declared the ‘Best Seller of the Year’ in South Africa.
We look forward to welcoming Zelda to the Executive PA Forum Ireland where we will hear her fascinating story of working with one of the world’s most iconic figures of modern times.