South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Nkosinathi Fihla interviewed by David Wiley
May 12, 2006 Cape Town, South Africa.


"At Robben Island, the first five years, it was terrible. One day ... I saw somebody laughing. I couldn't believe it because every day you had to think of what is going to happen tomorrow." [3:25]

Nkosinathi Fihla, who spent 14 years on Robben Island, describes the torture and humiliation by the warders [guards], until prisoners organized to challenge it.

Nkosinathi (Ben) Fihla was born in 1932 and lived in New Brighton, an African township of Port Elizabeth. Port Elizabeth was a stronghold of the African National Congress, and Fihla became active with the organization, joining the ANC Youth League, which was banned in 1960. After that, he helped organized the armed struggle underground in the Eastern Cape while he taught cricket and traveled to ballroom dancing competitions in his public life. Fihla is now a member of Parliament.

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