InterviewsStories and insights from Mandela's closest colleagues, fellow prisoners, friends and political adversaries
Neville Alexander A political activist, he was half Mandela's age when he arrived on Robben Island in 1964, the same year as Mandela. He was imprisoned there for ten years.
Fikile Bam He first met Mandela while helping out at the law offices of Mandela and Tambo in the 1950s. He later spent ten years with Mandela on Robben Island.
Dr. Neil Barnard He is the former head of the South African Intelligence Service and helped arrange secret talks with Mandela on behalf of the government.
George Bizos Mandela's lifelong lawyer, friend, and a constant visitor throughout the prison years.
Christo Brand For a time he was a warder on Robben Island when Mandela was there. He later became Mandela's warder at Pollsmoor Prison.
Chief Mtirara (Mandela's uncle), Chief Mtirara, and Chief Joyi They are three Madiba chiefs from Mandela's clan in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. They remember Mandela as a young boy.
Amina Cachalia and Rica Hodgson Cachalia is a friend and confidante of Mandela; Hodgson was an early communist and one of Mandela's lifelong friends.
'Kobie' Coetsee He was South Africa's Minister of Justice under apartheid. In 1986 he initiated secret talks with the imprisoned Mandela.
F.W. de Klerk He was South Africa's president from 1989-1994 and a co-recipient with Mandela of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Jessie Duarte A political activist, she became Mandela's personal assistant (1990 -1994) following his release from prison.
Ahmed Kathrada An activist in South Africa's Communist Party since his youth, he was a dedicated friend of Mandela and part of a committee which helped him during his months undergound. Convicted in the Rivonia Trial, Kathrada was on Robben Island from 1964-1989.
Wolfie Kodesh During the first months of Mandela going underground in 1961, Kodesh, an ANC colleague, hid him for nearly eight weeks in his one-room bachelor apartment in a white suburb of Johannesburg.
Joe Matthews He has known Mandela since their days at the University College of Fort Hare and was a leader with Mandela in the ANC Youth League. After the breakup of Mandela's first marriage, he lived in Mandela's Soweto home for eight months, sharing a bed with him.
Govan Mbeki Eight years older than Mandela, he was a lifelong comrade and sometime ANC adversary.
Fatima Meer She and her husband Ismail Meer were anti-apartheid activists and have been close to Nelson,Winnie and the family for decades. At Mandela's request, Fatima wrote his authorized biography, Higher Than Hope.
Strini Moodley He was a young member of the Black Consciousness Movement and in 1976 was sent to Robben Island, where his cell was diagonally across from Mandela's.
Anthony Sampson A British journalist, he has known Mandela since the 1950s when he was editor of the South African black magazine Drum. He is the author of the 1999 authorized biography, Mandela.
Tokyo Sexwale An activist since high school days, he was in the ANC underground movement and spent twelve years on Robben Island.
Walter Sisulu Mandela's lifelong friend, confidante,. mentor and fellow prisoner on Robben Island. He was imprisoned there for 25 years.
Richard Stengel He collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, taping approximately 75 hours of interviews and conducting over 30 others. He was with Mandela in South Africa for most of 1993, and during the election of 1994. Stengel is Senior Editor at Time Magazine.
Jack Swart He became personal chef to Mandela when he was moved from Robben Island to Victor Verster Prison in 1988.
Adelaide Tambo She is the wife of Oliver Tambo, ANC president and Mandela's former law partner, and has known Mandela for decades. She is also a longtime friend of Winnie Madikizela Mandela.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu He was a major anti-apartheid voice in the 1970s and 1980s and participated in the worldwide 'Free Mandela' campaign.
synopsis + andecdotes + chronology + discussion + map
tapes tapes & transcripts + transcripts + credits + press + site map + viewers & teachers' guide
frontline + pbs online + wgbh web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation