Robben Island Bible on show in UK

2012-07-18 11:25
Johannesburg - A copy of the complete works of Shakespeare known as the "Robben Island Bible" and used by political prisoners there, will be displayed at the British Museum, the UK Guardian online reported on Wednesday.

The book was lent by Sonny Venkatrathnam who, when a prisoner in the 1970s, managed to smuggle it in to the jail and it was used as inspiration and solace to African National Congress activists imprisoned there.

"Leading" prisoners signed their favourite parts and, for the British Museum show, it is open at the passage in Julius Caesar which begins with Caesar's words: "Cowards die many times before their deaths/The valiant never taste of death but once."

Next to it is the signature NRD Mandela 16-12-77 - that of former president Nelson Mandela.

The exhibition, Shakespeare: Staging the World, runs from 19 July to 25 November.

Nelson Mandela celebrates his 94th birthday today.


  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-07-18 11:37

    LOL, I can just imagine the Afrikaner prison warders scratching their heads every time the prisoners quoted Shakespeare. "All prisoners must be by va kitchen by six-firty," said Koos. "Ah yes," said Mandela, "but to be or not to be, vat is va question." Prisoners all crack up laughing.

      patrick.mampane - 2012-07-18 12:41

      I heard the prisoners were even able to obtain a subscription for The Economist. And for years the dumb Afrikaner warders thought it was a text for studying Economics. Lol

  • kathleen.whiteley.7 - 2012-07-18 12:26

    "They burn in indignation. I repent. There is no sure foundation set on blood, no certain life achieved by others' death." King John Act 4 Sc. 2

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