Former Robben Island prisoner Surinarayan Venkatrathnam dies in Durban



Former South African political prisoner Surinarayan Venkatrathnam, 84, died after being rushed to Entabeni hospital on Friday.

His grandaughter Teneille Pillay said he had taken ill at 2.30am and was rushed from his home on Berea Road to hospital where he passed away.

Venkatrathnam was acknowledged worldwide for his book titled Shakespeare’s Bible that he wrote on Robben Island as a prisoner.

Surinarayan Venkatrathnam

He was a former teacher of English and Mercantile law in Durban but in 1963 was dismissed from his job for protesting discrimination against Asians in the educational system.

He was banned until 1970 but was soon re-arrested under the Terrorism Act. He was sentenced in 1971 to two concurrent six year terms on Robben Island.

He was released in 1978 where he began work for Amnesty International.

Venkatrathnam was imprisoned with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Mac Maharaj and Ahmed Kathrada to name a few.

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Source – IOL

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