Robben Island - Mandela Cell

Robben Island - Mandela Cell Biographies Civil Rights Famous People Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs

This image depicts the cramped cell in which Nelson Mandela lived on Robben Island. 

In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, the future President of South Africa describes what life was like in this small space:

I was assigned a cell at the head of the corridor.  It overlooked the courtyard and had a small eye-level window. 

I could walk the length of my cell in three paces.  When I lay down, I could feel the wall with my feet and my head grazed the concrete at the other side.  The width was about six feet, and the walls were at least two feet thick. 

Each cell had a white card posted outside of it with our name and our prison service number.  Mine read, “N Mandela 466/64,” which meant I was the 466th prisoner admitted to the island in 1964. 

I was forty-six years old, a political prisoner with a life sentence, and that small cramped space was to be my home for I knew not how long.  (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, page 384.)

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 07, 2019

Media Credits

Image of Mandela's Robben Island prison cell, online courtesy South Africa History.org

Quoted passage, from Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.


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"Robben Island - Mandela Cell" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 07, 2019.
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