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Learning from Robben Island
Govan Mbeki's Prison Writings

By Govan Mbeki
Introduction by Colin Bundy
Foreword by Harry Gwala

Learning From Robben Island is an extraordinary selection of Mbeki's essays written, for the most part, between the late 1970s and mid 1980s…[It] bears testimony to the endurance of the human spirit, and, in Colin Bundy's words, ‘marks a victory in the continuing contest between the pen and the sword.’”

Philip Steenkamp, The International Journal of African Historical Studies

“Students of history and politics will find this book a valuable reference…On top of that, it gives better insight into life on Robben Island, showing that the struggle continued even within prison boundaries.”

Lakela Kaunda

“South Africa has jailed so many gifted men and women that there already exists a sizeable body of prison writing…The essays by Govan Mbeki which comprise this book add to this distinguished list. Yet they differ in important respects from all others: they were written, circulated and preserved in prison. They were never intended for publication but to be read by other prisoners; their aim is not to share an experience but to educate politically. They are remarkable documents.

“They offer historians and political scientists valuable raw material for any study of the ANC-SACP alliance. They provide activists with a distillation of practical lessons about political organisation, learned in the most testing conditions. They include extended historical, political and economic analyses that must be read alongside Mbeki's other writings in any assessment of the intellectual history of the South African left. And they are pages in a truly international literature — a record throughout the ages of the creativity and indomitability of people imprisoned for their beliefs. These prison essays mark a victory in the continuing contest between the pen and the sword.”

Professor Colin Bundy in his introduction

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Paperback
978-0-8214-1007-3
Retail price: $22.95, S.
Release date: November 1991
232 pages
Rights:  World

Hardcover
978-0-8214-1006-6
Retail price: $29.95, S.
Release date: November 1991
232 pages
Rights:  World

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