This collection is in two accessions. The first accession contains mainly prison correspondence, study materials from jail, other manuscripts and documents from Kathrada’s prison years, a large number of ANC and other documents from the years following his release, as well as a number of books and artefacts. There are microfilm copies of the prison letters. The only material related directly to the Rivonia Trial in this section is 11. 5, a copy of part of the Rivonia Trial record signed by Mandela, Sisulu, Kathrada and Motsoaledi given to them after their move to Pollsmoor Prison.
The second accession consists of prison artefacts, correspondence, documents and study materials from imprisonment (1964- 1989), as well as records from his release reflecting a number of the positions he held in public office and his various interests (1989-2002). There are only a few items from the period prior to his imprisonment. Records related to the Rivonia Trial are: A2.8: part of Rivonia Trial record (unsigned and unbound) with Robben Island Prison stamp on it (Judgement); A220.127.116.11: Letter to The Head of Prisons Pollsmoor Maximum Prison requesting permission to spend his 60th birthday with Rivonia Trial colleagues (4 August 1989) and follow-up letter (20 August 1989); and B3.6.3: Information re documentary called "Rivonia" from 1990s.
Collection of prison artefacts, correspondence, documents and study materials from Ahmed Kathrada's imprisonment (1964- 1989), as well as records from his release reflecting a number of the positions he held in public office and his various interests (1989-2002). Few items from the period prior to his imprisonment. Records related to Nelson Mandela from the prison years include letters to prison officials or Government signed by a number of prisoners protesting on bad condition. Requests to prison officials to spend time with Mandela once transferred from Pollsmoor. Lists of purchases requested by prisoners, signed copy of the Rivonia trial record. References to Nelson Mandela in letters to friends and family, document re Marxism and the ANC introduction by Nelson Mandela in letters to friends and family; documents re Marxism. Records related to Nelson Mandela after their release includes the ANC (especially from conferences, NEC and NWC meetings from 1990's) records on honours and awards received by Mandela including the Nobel peace prize in 1993); records from Kathrada's role as Parliamentary counsellor in the office of the President (especially Mandela' state visit to India in1995) invitations for various events to Mandela or those held for him; newspaper clippings and publications on Mandela
This series consists of two letters smuggled out of Robben Island in 1977. Mac Maharaj gave them to Judge Thumba Pillay of legal firm of Pillay Seedat & Co. The letters are written by Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada, both of them wishing to appoint the firm to act on their behalf in legal proceedings against the Department of Prisons. Since the authorities refused contact with their attorneys, they had to use this "illegal" method to seek legal representation. The collection includes an envelope that Judge Pillay had posted addressed to his law firm. He did this in the event that the Security Police questioned him about how he received the letters, he would be able to prove that they were posted anonymously to him. A second donation of Judge Thumba Pillay contains correspondence and documents (mainly copies) pertaining to the case of Mandela vs Minister of Prisons.