Sysnopsis - Ex-prisoners return to robben island

Sysnopsis - Ex-prisoners return to robben island
Robben Island - Maximum Security Prison
Prison Courtyard, Robben Island
Robben Island - Prison Window
Robben Island - Political Prisoners


Today, more than one decade after the end of apartheid, the documentary BACK HOME tells the story of three ex-prisoners who returned to their island of fate. An unusual new reflection of contemporary history. An emotional odyssey through the past, a visual journey and a behind-the-scenes-investigation, narrated by the victims and their families.

BACK HOME is the story of three men who came back to live and to work on the island which once changed their lives, as well as the history of South Africa. A story of different generations, a story of a common fate and a common goal.

Robben Island, the small island off the coast of Cape Town, is one of the most historic islands in the world. In the 1960s it was declared a high-security prison by the apartheid regime.

Tata Sindile Mngqibisa was one of the first to be deported to the island in 1963, even before the most well-known prisoner Nelson Mandela arrived - who later became the first black president of South Africa.Sindile was forced to build the prison with his own hands. For 15 years he was to fight for his survival on Robben Island.

Tata Elias Mzamo, a fellow-prisoner of Sindile, remembers the brutal treatment of prisoners and tells us about their survival strategies. In the new South Africa he returns, every morning, to Robben Island, the place of pain and suffering that is also a place of remembrance and of the strength that it still radiates.

Vusumzi Mcongo was jailed in 1978. Today he lives, together with his family, in the little village on the island which used to be the home of the warders, some hundred yards away from the former prison.

What is it that makes them go back? Their attitudes and motives surprise. They have lived different lives but they are united; united by an island, a land, and an ideal.

"In a way, I can say, I am back home in freedom, but really the road is still long."