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Mandela Day: Interview with Thandi Luthuli

We recently spent some time interviewing Thandi Luthuli (Gcabashe), a resident at Forest Village in Brettenwood Coastal Estate and daughter of Chief Inkosi Albert and Nokukhanya Luthuli.

1. Tell us a bit about your Heritage, where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal. At the age of 18 years I started my training as a nurse and midwife at McCord Hospital in Musgrave Road. After practicing for a few years, I became a nurse Tutor. Once I got married and had my four young children my family decided, in 1972, to move to the USA. This was sadly motivated by the political situation in South Africa. Twenty-six years later I returned home to South Africa and in 1996 was appointed as the South African Ambassador in Venezuela and the Caribbean. I retired in 2001.

2. What changes have you noticed in KwaZulu-Natal during your lifetime?
There are now far more people living in KZN and the development and investment in the past few years is very encouraging. It is wonderful to see a new multi-cultural community emerging.

3. How do you feel about the future of South Africa?
So positive and optimistic now that Cyril Ramaphosa is our president. We have a bright future ahead which gives pride and hope to all.

4. You are a resident on Brettenwood Estate. How long have you lived here and what do you love most about the estate?
I have been living on the estate within Forest Village for just over 2 and a half years. I love the security and the caring, friendly people who have made me feel so welcome and at home.

5. As we celebrate Mandela Day, 18th July, tell us a bit more about your father and the role he played in Shaping the South Africa we live in today.
My Father “Baba” was president general of the ANC in 1952 until his death in 1969 and my mother, Nokukhanya was the backbone of our family. My Father travelled extensively as he tried to encourage non-violent, peaceful change to the South African government and constitution at the time. It was difficult times for all but he helped bring about change by bringing awareness of humanitarian rights as well as political and cultural tolerance no matter who you were.

6. What is one life lesson your father taught you?
“Don’t sit in judgement and condemn a person until they are proven wrong,” there is always another side to a story.

7. What would you like to say to all the Millennials of South Africa about keeping the Mandela legacy alive?
Get involved and appreciate what the past generations have done so that you can also make positive change. 67 minutes of your time in a year can change the course of someone’s life and has the power to transform the world. Mandela knew this and knew that all we need is unity with love and respect in our hearts.

8. One last thing you would like to share with us Thandi…
Yes, the belief in God! My parents were very religious and my father was a Lay Preacher. The belief in God has being passed down and has been my strength through my life.

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