Mac Maharaj, Laloo Chiba, Raymond Nyanda and Andrew Masondo arrive on Robben Island prison

Mac Maharaja Image source

Tuesday, 5 January 1965

On 5 January 1965, members of the African National Congress (ANC) Mac Maharaj, Laloo Chiba, Raymond Nyanda and Andrew Masondo arrived at Robben Island. They were all taken to B Section where their leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Elias Motsoaledi and Walter Sisulu among others were being kept after the Rivonia Trial. There were suspicions by Maharaj and the leadership of the ANC that Raymond Nyanda was sent to prison as a planted spy.

Robben Island was used as a prison to house political prisoners and common law prisoners in the 1960s. Over the course of time, several hundred political prisoners passed though its prison doors while others died before their release. After undergoing scrutiny by political prisoners, Nyanda received news that he had 'won' his case on appeal and that his sentence was shortened. He was removed from Robben Island. Maharaj and Masondo were released in 1976. Chiba was released in December 1982.

• Mac Maharaj, (2001), Reflections in Prison, (Cape Town), p.x
• Maharaj, M. (2000) 'Where Thought Remained Unprisoned' from O'Malley, The Heart of Hope, [online], Available at [Accessed on 25 November 2010]

Last updated : 07-Nov-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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