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Former Drakenstein warder recalls how Madiba won him over

Former warder Jack Wwart was responsible for preparing meals for the future president.

FILE: A view of Drakenstein Prison, then called Victor Verster Prison, where Nelson Mandela served the last 14 months of his 27-year imprisonment. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The former prison worker who had to help look after Nelson Mandela during the last 14 months of his incarceration said that they became good friends.

Tuesday marked exactly three decades since Mandela was released from prison.

He spent more than a year at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, which was then known as Victor Verster prison.

Former warder Jack Swart was responsible for preparing meals for the future president.

Swart admitted that he was initially not keen on his duties.

"At that stage, I was fighting for a job for three years. I was in the job for three months and now I had to go to Mandela. I said I didn't want to but I was told I didn't have a choice - I had to go."

But he said that he learned to respect Madiba.

He jokingly recalled having to show the statesman how to use a microwave.

"He showed me the microwave and said: 'Here's a TV and there's TV. Why are there two TVs?' I explained to him that it was not a TV, it was a microwave. I put a plastic jug in the microwave, heated it, took it out and told him to put his finger in it. He said 'shoo!'"

Swart said that while their initial relationship was one of a warder guarding a prisoner, they eventually became friends.

WATCH: 3 decades since Madiba's release from prison

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