Tata Elias Mzamo

Tata Elias Mzamo
Elias Mzamo - ex-political prisoner on Robben Island
Elias Mzamo - cemetery Robben Island
Elias Mzamo - Lions Head Cape Town
Robben Island near Cape Town and the Table Mountain


...was sent to the island in 1963. He remembers the day of his transportation from a prison on the mainland to a place called Robben Island.

You are thinking: Where am I going to? You try to visualize this place, how it looks like. How are you going to stay there? Because you have never been to an island. [...] What are we going to do all these years? You will never survive five years in prison. Now I will die in prison. This meant that we are going to die on the island



Today Elias makes his home in Khayelistha (translation: the new home), one of the oldest townships of Cape Town. Every morning he returns to Robben Island, the place of pain and suffering that is also a place of remembrance and of the strength that it still radiates. Elias tells us about the brutal treatment of prisoners - and about their surprising survival strategies. He shows us the prison compound, explains a typical day of the inmates. He leads us to the stone quarry, to his place of work during the time of his imprisonment. It was here that they unsuccessfully attempted to break the will of the inmates. We meet a strong, elderly man, yet full of energy, who speaks about his experiences without hatred, and with hope.