Robben Island Readings

Be at this performance, written by Matthew Hahn, about the smuggled Shakespeare book that inspired Mandela during his years of imprisonment on Robben Island.

Hahn is the author of Robben Island Shakespeare, the story of the smuggled book, based on interviews with surviving activists woven together with their favourite passages from Shakespeare.

The copy of the Collected Works of Shakespeare was brought onto the island illicitly by the wife of one of the former prisoners, Sonny Venkatrathnam.

Known as the Robben Island Bible because it was disguised as a copy of the Hindu scriptures, the book became a point of reference for the political prisoners who would become the leaders of a democratic South Africa.

The book, open at the page where Mandela marked and signed his favourite passage, will be on display in the Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition 2018.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green Side


Free, but ticketed