Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Countless books have been written about Nelson Mandela and since his death many have pushed boundaries not dared when he was alive.

Many, too, have touched on his last years after his retirement into what is perhaps kindly described as "a lengthy dotage".

Certainly one of the best, and most heartbreaking, chronicles of Mandela’s decline was in the book of his private assistant and gatekeeper Zelda la Grange, Good Morning, Mr Mandela.

Now a new book, Mandela’s Last Years, written by Vejay Ramlakan, will be published by Penguin Random House next month.

Ramlakan was the head of Mandela’s medical team who witnessed what the former president was experiencing, especially in those final years.

It also documents the familial disputes; military, political, financial and security demands as well as the wishes of Mandela himself.

Ramlakan took care of Mandela’s medical needs throughout his presidency until his death and will add some detached insight into a period in his life that has been told by many, some with vested interests.

Some members of the Mandela family have given their support to this book.

Ramlakan himself has an interesting history, having served as a member of uMkhonto we Sizwe and being imprisoned from 1987 to 1991, like Mandela, on Robben Island.

He studied medicine at the University of Natal and after his political involvement in the run-up to SA’s constitutional negotiations and the political settlement after 1994, he served as the country’s surgeon-general from 2005 to 2013. He was later appointed chief of corporate staff in the SA National Defence Force. He retired from the military in 2015.

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