Tata Sindile Mngqibisa was one of the first to be deported to the island by the apartheid regime in 1963, one year before Nelson Mandela arrived. He was forced to build the prison with his own hands. For 15 years he was to fight for his survival on Robben Island.
Sipho Mngqibisa is Sindile's son. He was only four months old when his father was arrested. As a young man he hated all politics and nearly became a street fighter. Today Sipho is a police officer in the democratic South Africa.
Tata Elias Mzamo arrived on the island in the same year as Sindile, in 1963. Sindile and Elias got friends throughout the prison years. As soon as Elias came out after five years on Robben Island, he was, right from prison, banished to King William's Town. Only in 1983, after 20 years of isolation, he could walk free again.
Vusumzi Mcongo was a member of the South African Students Movement which was declared illegal in 1978. He was sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island. He got to know several of the political leaders of New South Africaï¿½s first free-elected governments. His experience reflects the last period of the prison.