Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island, off the southern coast of South Africa.
Ahmed Kathrada, a confidant of Mandela and fellow anti-apartheid activist, was among those held on the island as a political prisoner.
Branded “terrorists”, the leaders of the struggle were kept under extreme conditions and isolated from the world.
But Mandela remained resolute and calm in his defiance of the government, and the prisoners maintained their goal of working towards a peaceful, non-racial solution to apartheid.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Robben Island, South Africa.