Nelson Mandela sits beneath his former cell during a visit to Robben Island prison. © Reuters
Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's first black President, is commemorated every year on 18 July, his birthday, also known as Nelson Mandela International Day. Mr Mandela was visited several times by ICRC staff during his 27 years in prison. He subsequently said: "What matters is not only the good the ICRC brings but the evil it prevents." To understand more about the process and purpose of our visits to those held in detention, have a look at the animated video below.
A 60-year-old set of rules outlining minimum standards for prisoner treatment have been given an overhaul and a new name following a four-year revision process led by the UN. They are now called the "Mandela Rules". Read more about this topic on the ICRC's Intercross Blog: New "Mandela Rules" aim to improve detainee treatment
Nelson Mandela and the ICRC during apartheid
- Nelson Mandela, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1963 and 1990
- Johnson Mlambo, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1963 and 1983
- Philip Silwana, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1966 and 1976. Chairperson of the committee in charge of prisoners' affairs.
- James April, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1971 and 1986
- Tito Maleka, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1979 and 1990
- Eddie Daniels, imprisoned on Robben Island between 1964 and 1979
- Deborah "Debs" Matshoba-Mabale, held in several prisons in the late 1970s and early 1980s
- Bennie Ntoele, imprisoned on Robben Island from 1963 to 1973 and again from 1979 to 1989
- Nicolas de Rougemont, ICRC Regional Delegate for Southern Africa from 1991 to 1993. Worked in Africa on a number of occasions and visited Robben Island ten times between 1974 and 1991.
... and others.
Click on the photo to download the pdf.
A tribute to Nelson Mandela