Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: 18th July 1918-5th December 2013

Born in the Eastern Cape and spending his working career in Johannesburg before being imprisoned on Robben Island for his political beliefs, Nelson Mandela doesn’t have many ties to KwaZulu-Natal. Yet, it was here, in KZN, that two of the most historic events in Mandela’s life took place. The occasions could almost be described as …

He Died for Peace

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Chris Hani, an event that nearly saw the undoing of the very fragile peace negotiations in South Africa. It’s difficult to imagine so many years on, but Chris Hani was a hugely popular figure in South Africa, with some even believing that with him at the …

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: 26 September 1936-2 April 2018

Late Monday afternoon the airwaves filled with stories of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as people phoned in to express their grief over the passing of this legendary South African political activist. Born on the 26th September 1936, Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela, known popularly as ‘Winnie’, was the daughter of two teachers, and the fifth of nine children. With educators …

The University of Fort Hare

The University of Fort Hare, possibly South Africa’s most famous educational institution, has had something of a checkered past. Opened in 1916 as the South African Native College by Christian missionaries, the school offered a European-style education for students from across sub-Saharan Africa. While the missionaries were part of colonial expansion, which came with its own set of prejudices, they did …

Oliver Reginald Tambo

The month of May is celebrated in South Africa as Africa Month, and this year the theme, ‘The Year of O.R. Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World’, recognises the vision of the great anti-apartheid revolutionary, who would have turned 100 in October. While the name O.R. Tambo is now synonymous with jet setting travellers, it is really …

The African Writers Series

Literature, like many of the arts, has a far greater reach than many people believe, and is often influential in shaping broader society. Of particular importance is what children read in school, as it forms the majority of the information that they consume. So it was an issue for Alan Hill of the publishing house …

Twenty Seven Years

The 11th February 2017 is a significant date in South African history. It marks 27 years since former South African president, Nelson Mandela, was released from prison, after having spent 27 years incarcerated. Nelson Mandela with Gen. Tadesse Beru. In 1962, Mandela was issued an Ethiopian passport under the name David Motsamayi Mandela was arrested …

The Freedom Charter & the 1956 Treason Trial

The Congress of the People took place on the 26th June 1955, in Kliptown, just outside of Johannesburg. Attended by some 3000 people, the aim of the meeting was to discuss the content of the proposed Freedom Charter, with submissions for the document having been received from people all across the country. The Freedom Charter, some of the core tenets …

Christmas Day on Robben Island

Three years ago this Christmas the movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom had its international premier. In an interview with Huffington Post at the time, Saths Cooper reflected on the years that he spent on Robben Island with Mandela, and specifically how they spent the holiday season. Cooper, a member of the Black Consciousness Movement and former resident …

The Robben Island Bible

The wonderful thing about history is that it provides the most fascinating stories – factual tales that are often more interesting and convoluted than the best spy novels! Himalaya House, still standing today at 165 Julius Nyerere Avenue, is where we begin today’s story, for it was here, in Durban’s first high-rise apartment block, that a number …