ROBBEN ISLAND OUR UNIVERSITY
Made before Nelson Mandela’s release and South Africa’s transformation to democracy, this extraordinary conversation gave the first insight into the infamous prison for political opponents on Robben Island. The film was made under the State of Emergency in the film-director’s own home where three former political prisoners Neville Alexander, Fikile Bam & Kwedi Mkalipi describe how they, respectively, spent 10 & 20 years in the same section as Nelson Mandela and many other remarkable leaders, who were incarcerated there at the time.
It is the first time they have met since they left. They explain how this imprisonment inadvertently helped build a solidarity & closeness between diverse political opposition groupings; how they survived emotional deprivation and lost self-pity and built a comradeship, resilience and knowledge of one another which helped cement the democratic foundations of South Africa’s democracy.
United Kingdom - Channel-4 - 1988