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Helen Suzman Papers File
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Letters from prisoners

Held in the following prisons: Allandale; Barberton; Baviaanspoort; Bethal; Biendonne; Brandfort, Brandvlei; Cinderella; Colesburg; De Aar; Diepkloof; Douglas; Driehoek; Durban Central; Dwarsrivier; Fort; Geluk; General JC Steyn; Germiston; Goedemoed; Graaff-Reinet; Grahamstown; Groenpunt; Grootvlei; Johannesburg; Heidelberg; Kandaspunt; Kimberley; Kinross; Kleindrakenstein; Klerksdorp; Kroonstad; Krugersdorp; Leslie; Lykop; Leeuwkop; Lichtenburg; Losperfontein; Magaliesoord Rehabilitation Centre for Men; Malmesbury; Modder Bee; Nelspruit; New Heidelberg; Nigel; North End; Obiqua; Pietermaritzburg; Pietersburg; Piet Retief; Point (Durban); Pollsmoor, Potchefstroom; Pretoria Central; Pretoria Local; Rawsonville; Robertson; Rustenburg; St Alban's; Sandvlei; Sasolburg; Sevenfontein; Simondium; Standerton; Trichardt; Upington; Utrecht; Vereeniging; Victor Verster; Voortrekkerhoogte; Vooruitsig; Waterval; Wellington; Westville; Winburg; Witbank; Worcester; Zonderwater (NB: most of these letters concern prison warders brutality, psychological torture, denial of right to appeal, appalling food, short visits, generally terrible conditions and some are anonymous).

Letters 1960

Includes: 02/05/1960: Letter from "21 European women detainees presently held at the Fort Johannesburg" transcribed on to House of Assembly Cape Town notepaper and addressed to the Minister of Justice, the Right Honourable F.C. Erasmus; amongst other things the letter points out that 7 of the women have husbands also jailed and therefore there are 19 parentless children. They plan to engage in a hunger strike after 12th May 1960 unless they are released; 05/05/1960: Letter from H.S. to the Minister of Justice about the 21 women and a list of questions to be asked on the topic on 09/05/1960.

Letters 1965

Includes: 04/07/65 a letter from Geluk prison from prisoner 110/62 Fred Kumalo, and 112/63 Willie Mkize; 16/09/65 from illegible correspondent who ends with "love" to the Progressive Party of SA — Cape Provincial Office about the "enclosed" and Vorster's invitations to MPs to visit prisons; 2 cuttings: 'The Untruthful Warder', Die Burger 19/08/65; 'Monitors Gestraf na Botsing (uit ons Tygerbergse Kantoor Belville)', 01/09/65.

Letters 1967-1968

Includes: Johannesburg Gaol letter 09/06/67 from Clement Makaluza (?), Sydney Ndlovu, Naftalie Sitole; letter from Greenpoint prison at Viljoensdrift dated 02/12/68 from prisoners 591/67 Vivian Nene and 243/67 Lucas Maloleka.

Undated letters

Includes: letter from an (apparently) ex-Robben islander in Suider Paarl's Switzerland (?) Prison who says he's now "Progressive Party minded"; he's saying thanks and mentions "Mandela, Alexander, Naicker." [Anon, no date]; a letter from Ivan Schermbrucker saying thanks and conveying love from the "politicals at local"; MB Cole writes from Germiston (prison or police cells); he is a "highly qualified public accountant" re appalling conditions, food and he doesn't have a lawyer; letter from Kroonstad prisoners 625/66 & 1628/68 Michael Mokela (?) & Filane Moloi.

Government Gazettes

  • ZA HPRA A2084-A-Aa-Aa1-Aa1.1-Aa1.1.1-Aa1.1.1.2
  • File
  • March-May 1960
  • Part of Helen Suzman Papers

Eleven Extraordinary Government Gazettes from March-May 1960: 30/03/1960 (No. 6403) State of Emergency declaration; 02/04/1960 (No. 6406) Callout & Mobilisation of Citizen Force & Commandos; 02/04/1960 (No. 6407) Callout & Mobilisation of Portion of the Reserve; 04/04/1960 (No. 6408) Appointment of Commission of Enquiry into Events in the Langa Location on 21/03/1960; 05/04/1960 (No. 6410) Application of Regulation 9 of the Emergency Regulations & the banning of the publications "The Torch" and the "New Age"; 11/04/1960 (No. 6415 Extension of Emergency Regulations; 11/04/1960 (No. 6416) Department of Prisons — Rules to govern detainees visits, letters, reading matter, toilet requisites, smoking regulations, food, money, private clothing, religion, medical treatment, disciplinary contraventions; 22/04/1960 (No. 6425) Amendment of Emergency Regulations; 28/04/ 1960 (No. 6432) Amendment of Emergency Regulations, further action in connection with certain detainees; 03/05/1960 (No. 6439) Amendment of Emergency Regulations — Removal of Certain Persons from the Union; 12/05/1960 (No. 6441).

Letters 1984

This file has quite a number of letters from prisoners sent through to Helen Suzman by Elizabeth Rowe of Black Sash. Many of the letters were 'uncensored' — meaning that they had been smuggled out of the prisons and therefore couldn't be used as evidence.

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