I have read many articles and seen many stories about Robben Island. What I find
lacking in these articles and stories is the role played by the church in relation to ministry
to political prisoners.
Given my own experience as a political prisoner on Robben Island, I am of the view that
this subject should be explored and told.
As implied in the title, this study will focus on the period covering three decades (1960-
1970, 1971-1980 and 1981-1990). These periods will be considered separately and
A brief background information about Robben Island as a maximum security prison will
be provided here. Furthermore, the categories and affiliations of political prisoners are
explained. Lastly, detail relating to existence of different religions is discussed.
The role played by the church in ministry to political prisoners on Robben Island between
1960 and 1990.
This study makes use of oral history by way of interviews and other sources such as
questionnaires, records, etc. to generate data from, among, others:
1. Political prisoners incarcerated during the period stated above.
2. Chaplain(s) who served during this period.
3. Prison Official(s) who served during this period Archived material relating to ministry to political prisoners covering this period will be
In the introduction of his book The Changing Shape of Church History, Justo L. González
(2002:1) starts by asking the question: "where is the cutting edge of church history?" My
expectation is that the findings of this study, as they are stated here, would illustrate the
cutting edge of the church history on Robben Island.
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