Make Money Mondays

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Nelson Mandela's former personal secretary Zelda La Grange. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

We tried to convince him [to buy new cars for his convoy]… The cars were in a terrible state, really… We said to him, it doesn’t have to be big cars… He refused… and that was state money.

Zelda la Grange

He could’ve had the biggest plane on Earth [but it wasn’t a priority for him].

Zelda la Grange

I believe in spending money on experiences, not on goods... Experiences, and a bit of motor-biking!

Zelda la Grange

Every week The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews a famous person about her or his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.) as part of his weekly “Make Money Mondays” feature.

This week Whitfield interviewed former private secretary to Nelson Mandela, Zelda la Grange.

La Grange is also a cofounder of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

What does she believe about money?

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

Charlize [Theron] is, unfortunately, too old already [to play La Grange in an upcoming movie]…

Zelda la Grange

The 27 years he spent outside of society changed his views about money completely.

Zelda la Grange

He never had those things [debit card, credit card, etc.].

Zelda la Grange

He would give his grandchildren R30 to go to the movies… We’d have to explain to him they can’t do that with only R30!

Zelda la Grange

I never saw him buying anything for himself… I saw him buy a pen once… He would never spoil himself… Mrs Machel once told him to buy new pyjamas…

Zelda la Grange

If someone didn’t throw out his socks he would wear them until there’s only a thread left!

Zelda la Grange

He didn’t believe in debt at all.

Zelda la Grange

We were at the bottom part of the middleclass.

Zelda la Grange

My first job was at the Department of State Expenditure… I was 22.

Zelda la Grange

We never got an allowance. We had to work… over holidays and weekends…

Zelda la Grange

I made a very good decision to get a financial advisor…

Zelda la Grange

I bought Sasol shares in the early 2000s… It made me so nervous! I’m not a good risk taker… Buying stock was a very bad decision!

Zelda la Grange

If money was no object… I’d have a huge farm where I house people and stray animals… I would give everything away…

Zelda la Grange

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