On this day 56 years ago, Nelson Mandela arrived as a prisoner on Robben Island. Upon arrival, he had to remove every item of clothing and throw them into water, and then dress in the cold soaked garments. This was to be one of Mandela's harshest periods in prison.
It was just over six months since he had been sentenced to five years in prison for leaving the country without a passport and inciting workers to strike. With no prior warning, on the Monday of 27 May, 1963, Mandela was transferred to the bitterly-cold Robben Island.
On 12 June, 1963, two weeks after his arrival on the island, Mandela was transferred back to Pretoria.
It has been assumed that the Rivonia Trial was the reason for his transfer back to Pretoria, but he was moved almost a month before the 11 July, 1963 raid on Liliesleaf farm in Rivonia, on which a number of his comrades were captured.
In October he met these comrades for the first time as they came out of 90-day detention to appear in court on 9 October, 1963.
On 12 June, 1964, the day after having been convicted of sabotage, Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life imprisonment. On 13 June he went back to Robben Island again alongside Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni.
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