Records of the Commonwealth Office and Foreign Commonwealth Office: Southern African Department and predecessors includes material on the Treatment of prisoners including Nelson Mandela in South Africa
Following Nelson Mandela’s sentencing on 7 November 1962, the Pretoria Magistrates Court issued a warrant committing him to prison for five years. He had been convicted and sentenced that day to three years for on charges of “inciting to trespass laws” (to strike) and two for leaving South Africa without a passport. It was stipulated that the two sentences were to run consecutively. The second Warrant of Committal was issued by the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa on June 12, 1964, the same day the judge handed down a sentence of life imprisonment for Mr Mandela and his colleagues, who was convicted on four counts of sabotage in the Rivonia Trial. The first two counts were for contravening Section 21(1) of the General Laws Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) No. 76 of 1962; the third in contravention of Section 11(a), read with Sections 1 and 12 of Act No. 44 of 1950; and the fourth was for contravening Section 3(1) (6), read with Section 2 of Act No. 8 of 1953 (as amended).
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.
This item consists of a letter written by Nelson Mandela to the legal firm of Seedat Pillay & Co. that was smuggled out of Robben Island Prison. Mandela wished to appoint the firm to act on his behalf in legal proceedings against the Department of Prisons. Since the authorities refused to allow him contact with his attorneys, he had to use this "illegal" method to seek legal representation.
Jack Swart was Mr Mandela's warder and chef from 7 Dec 1988 to 11 Feb 1990 at Victor Verster Prison. This collection includes notes by Mandela to Swart, correspondence, photographs, recipes and menus of the food Swart cooked for Mandela, and a manuscript of Swart's life story in Afrikaans. It includes a video clip of the drive from the Victor Verster House to the prison gates that Mandela would have taken on 11 Feb 1990 when he was released.
Proceedings of the launch of the exhibition Reflections in prison include Nelson Mandela receiving his two personal Notebooks that mysteriously went missing after a raid in Robben Island prison. Donald Card an ex-prison official in Robben Island at the time of the notebooks going missing returns them to Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in Johannesburg in 2004. Video recording of the proceedings of the launch of the exhibition Reflections in prison together with the return of the two of personal notebooks of that belonged to Nelson Mandela while he was serving a prison sentence in Robben Island. The two Notebooks mysteriously went missing after a raid at the prison.