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LYSANDER’S STORY
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By kate eggleton

Hello there my name is Lysander Sage. I’m 5 years old. The year is 1965 and Nelson Mandela has just been sent to prison. It was a great shock for me when I found out, you know why? Because he’s my hero, my idol, I’ve looked up to him. I think it’s not fair that the white people sent him to jail as he’s a good man. I know he’ll get out as long as we remain loyal.

I have to go to school where only black kids go because of the government. I haven’t been able to see my best friend Charlie, because he’s white. It’s a hard and unfair life and it’s getting worse over the years.

I’m 10 now. Nelson is still in prison. I know he’ll get out it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile my Dad is not very well. He’s getting lumps on his legs. The lumps are now getting twice as big and they are a fire red colour. I’m getting really worried. Mum and I are secretly saving two coins a week against Dad wishes to get him into the hospital.

I get coins for shining white peoples shoes. There is one guy I call him “Specks” because of his glasses. He gives me two coins instead of one. He also tells stories about God. I listen but secretly I don’t really care much. I smile and listen and I get my extra tip. I can buy a loaf of bread and two potatoes or a big cabbage and still save a coin for Dad.

Today I’m going to shine shoes, I grab my rag and slop on one of my Dad’s old tops. I headed to the street. I can see “Specks” sitting on a seat outside a food shop, sipping coffee and eating ham sandwiches. I walk up, he called out “Lysander come and sit down”. I sat down beside him. He offered me some sandwiches which I hungrily ate. “So, umm sir… umm what should I call you?” I asked, “You can call me Jona or Mr Whalley”.
“OK, Mr Whalley, is there something you want to tell me?”
“Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you that I worked with your hero”
“Who? Superman?”
“No, silly, Nelson Mandela”
“Really, you did!”
“I know you think he’s the greatest but right now why were you looking so glum?”
“Oh, its my Dad, he’s got lumps on his legs, they are a fiery red” I sobbed as tears tricked down my face “and we don’t have enough money to got to the hospital to get a cure”
“Oh I’m so sorry, maybe I can help here” said Mr Whalley and he handed me a small bag. “In there is enough money to get your father into hospital and pay for a cure and maybe some flowers for your mother and some marbles for you. If you could meet me here next week at this time I would be most happy”
“Sure thing Sir, thank you Sir”. A tear fell down my face.
“Off you go now”
I started to run home to tell my Mum and Dad what had happened.



It’s 1990, I’m now 30 years old. Nelson Mandela has been released from prison and today he is going to be sworn in as the President of South Africa. My Dad died when I was 15. My Mum and I were very sad. But today we are happy.



Brian Falkner Books