Mandela’s cell becomes a moving history on the move

Cape Town – Standing outside a replica of the tiny cell which was the home of then political prisoner Nelson Mandela for 18 years, has brought back powerful memories for anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.

On Monday, Uncle Kathy, as he is affectionately known, stared through the window of the tiny room, remembering life on Robben Island.

He himself spent 18 years behind similar bars after being convicted in the 1964 Rivonia treason trial of sabotage and attempting to overthrow the then government.

“Our history is important,” he said, following the official opening of the mobile replica cell at Spine Road High School in Mitchells Plain.

 “This cell was part of the struggle. While being held here, what we looked forward to in the end was victory. We can’t forget the past. It can never be forgotten. But we must know the future, what we went through to achieve the future. That is more important.”