Sport and recreation on Robben Island
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The article provides insight into an important part of South Africa’s sport history that has not been explored yet: What was the role sport and recreation played on Robben Island in the days when it served as political prison? The research has been a collaborative project of the Department for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Western Cape Sports Council, Mayibuye Centre and the University of the Western Cape’s Interdisciplinary Center for Sport Science and Development. Facilitated by the establishment of a ‘Robben Island General Recreational Committee’ in the 1960s, sport and recreation took a very special form on the Island. Unknown to South Africans and the world, during Apartheid, sport and recreation on Robben Island were used as a vehicle to unite people and to promote values of respect, integrity, dignity, teamwork and fair play as an integral part of a holistic person. Leisure activities became a place of triumph of human spirit, body and soul. The research facilitated the process of digitisation of archives from the Island. Numerous sources were discovered, giving an insight into the role of sport and recreation for many of South Africa’s past and present leaders. The study also highlights the role sport and recreation played in the unique journey to freedom and democracy.