Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

NNelson Mandela described it as, "the truth of Oscar Wilde's haunting line about the tent of blue that prisoners call the sky”.Pollsmoor Prison undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping South Africa’s history.

This is  Pollsmoor Prison

Surrounded by some of the oldest wine estates and upmarket suburbs in the city, the historic prison stands assertively in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai.

Nelson Mandela, along with comrades Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni and Raymond Mhlaba stepped on the shores of Pollsmoor in March 1982 after spending 18 years on Robben Island. Ahmed Kathrada, also an anti-apartheid activist, followed shortly and was also incarcerated. 

All the anti-apartheid activists were kept separate from each other and from the rest of the population to try and curb the spread of anti-apartheid idealism.

FFollowing Madiba’s footsteps

While he was there, Nelson made friends with the warder and was able to create a rooftop garden as well as read anything he could get his hands on. He also communicated with 52 letters a year to the outside world, which played an important role against the apartheid government.

During his time in Pollsmoor Prison Mandela refused an offer by then President PW Botha to be released if he renounced violence.

While incarcerated in  Pollsmoor over more than five years, Mandela was hospitalised for four months and was then transferred to Drakenstein prison. In Drakenstein he was moved to the large warden’s house and where he remained until his release.

More than just a prison

One can now have a meal at the prison’s restaurant which is staffed by inmates to assist in their rehabilitation after release. The food is well priced and the service is friendly. Inmates receive recommendations when they are released to support an opportunity to join the hospitality industry and improve their lives after release.

A visit to the prison will not get you inside the walls, but visit the affectionately nicknamed Mess Hall to meet a number of people happy to talk about the legendary man.

Related articles

Vibrant culture

Xhosa culture: the clans and customs

Vibrant culture
Xhosa culture: the clans and customs

The AmaXhosa are part of three nations known as Nguni that are found in South Africa. The other two are AmaSwazi and AmaZulu.  The AmaXhosa settled in the Eastern Cape and over time spread to the Western Cape.

Vibrant culture

African ancestors and Amadlozi

Vibrant culture
African ancestors and Amadlozi

Zulus are generally a proud people. Whether one lives in a rural area or is an urban Zulu to paraphrase the late renowned popstar Busi Mhlongo, Zulus generally adhere to the beliefs of their forebears - and live in many worlds in fact.

Vibrant culture

The culture of Basotho: history, people, clothing and food

Vibrant culture
The culture of Basotho: history, people, clothing and food

As a nation that boasts about its rich culture, the Basotho can trace their origins to the pre-historic age.

Vibrant culture

The Shangaan-Tsonga people

Vibrant culture
The Shangaan-Tsonga people

The Tsonga people are a diverse group of tribes that include the Shangaan, Thonga, Tonga, Vandzawu, VaTshwa, Vakalanga and Valoyi to name a few.

Vibrant culture

History of women in South Africa

Vibrant culture
History of women in South Africa

Resilience and peaceful resistance are just some of the ways in which South African women have fought against apartheid.

Vibrant culture

Culture and expression of identity: The Ndebele of South Africa

Vibrant culture
Culture and expression of identity: The Ndebele of South Africa

The Ndebele of South Africa constitute one group of people whose identity has survived precarious conditions and existential crisis under the weight of changing power dynamics of internal and external factors from pre-colonial to present times.

Vibrant culture

Xhosa cuisine: the dishes and traditions

Vibrant culture
Xhosa cuisine: the dishes and traditions

Xhosa cuisine: the dishes and traditions

Vibrant culture

Shaka kaSenzangakhona, the founder of the Zulu kingdom

Vibrant culture
Shaka kaSenzangakhona, the founder of the Zulu kingdom

King Shaka kaSenzangakhona has been portrayed as a blood-thirsty dictator who ruled through coercion and instilled fear in his people. Contrary to these misrepresentations, early colonial accounts portray him as a keen international trader who went out of his way to protect the traders between 1824 and 1828.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2019 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy