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Ahmed Kathrada (The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Robben Island political prisoner) was a South African politician and former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist. Kathrada’s involvement in the anti-apartheid activities of the African National Congress (ANC) led him to his long-term imprisonment following the Rivonia Trial, in which he was held at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison with Nelson Mandela. Following his release in 1990, he was elected to serve as a member of parliament, representing the ANC. He has authored several books, including No Bread for Mandela- Memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner No. 468/64.

Hugh Masekela (The Hugh Masekela Foundation) was a world-renowned South African flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and prominent activist during the anti-apartheid struggle in exile. At the age of 14, the deeply respected advocator of equal rights in South Africa, Father Trevor Huddleston, provided Masekela with a trumpet and, soon after, the Huddleston Jazz Band was formed. Masekela began to hone his, now signature, Afro-Jazz sound in the late 1950s during a period of intense creative collaboration, most notably performing in the 1959 musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshikiza, and, soon thereafter, as a member of the now legendary South African group, the Jazz Epistles (featuring the classic line up of Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim and Jonas Gwangwa). He spent 30 years in exile where in New York he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. This coincided with a golden era of jazz music and the young Masekela immersed himself in the New York jazz scene where nightly he watched greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach. Under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, Hugh was encouraged to develop his own unique style, feeding off African rather than American influences – his debut album, released in 1963, was entitled Trumpet Africaine. In the late 1960s Hugh moved to Los Angeles in the heat of the ‘Summer of Love’, where he was befriended by hippie icons like David Crosby, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. In 1967 Hugh performed at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage. His subsequent solo career has spanned 5 decades, during which time he has released over 40 albums (and been featured on countless more) and has worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the late Miriam Makeba. In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.

Ambassador Thenjiwe Mtintso (South African Ambassador to Romania, former political prisoner) is former Deputy Secretary General of the African National Congress, current South African ambassador to Romania and one of her country’s foremost gender activists. During the anti-apartheid struggle, Mtintso was imprisoned five times, including at Number 4 women’s prison (Johannesburg), and severely tortured by the South African security police. Her testimonies bear witness to the atrocities perpetrated against hundreds of women in their fight against both racial and sexual discrimination.

Penelope ‘Baby’ Tyawa (member of South African parliament, former political prisoner), a founding member of COSAS (Congress of South African Students), was detained in multiple jails, held for months in isolation, and assaulted and tortured by suffocation at the notorious John Vorster Square. Baby – so named as she was only 15 years old when she was first jailed for resisting the apartheid regime – earned her BA degree in Educational Psychology and also in Econometrics and Modelling, and holds several post graduate degrees.  She has received many leadership awards and has served for 13 years as a public servant working in communications and research, education, gambling (Trade and Industry) and academia (Wits University and Johannesburg College of Education). Her professional focus includes human development, social economic transformation, and sharing knowledge with those who are willing to share. Tyawa is currently deputy secretary of Parliament.

Anthony Suze (Robben Island political prisoner 501/63), born in 1942 in a small township northwest of Pretoria, was recruited by the Pan Africanist Congress in 1960. In 1963, Suze was one of several members instructed by party commanders to mobilize and indoctrinate other students, resulting in his arrest and sentencing with 14 other men, most in their early-20s, to a combined 185 years to the infamous Robben Island prison. Suze spent the next 15 years on the island. While there he participated in a remarkable movement of sport resistance, as the political prisoners agitated for and won the right to organize their own soccer league. The resulting Makana Football Association was a multi-team, two-division league – featuring formal team administrative structures, referees trained according to FIFA standards, and a league-wide disciplinary committee – that allowed the participants to be physically active while honing their organizational skills as the government-in-waiting.

Mark Shinners (Robben Island prisoner 493/63 and 2114/79) arrived on Robben Island when he was 17 years old and served two ten-year terms for being a member of a banned organization and conspiring to overthrow the government. With an affable and philosophical temperament, Shinners articulates his insights into those violent times with the clarity and wisdom of a poet. He was later a representative of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) negotiators in the talks that resulted in the first democratic government in South Africa.

Sedick Isaacs (Robben Island political prisoner), former head of the Department of Medical Informatics at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, was imprisoned on Robben Island for 13 years. There, he served as chairman of the Education Committee and the Prisoners’ First Aid Unit. He organized a series of different cultural programs and a number of sports competitions, as well as teaching mathematics and science courses to his fellow prisoners. He succeeded in forging a master key that opened all the prison cells, which he recalled in his memoirs Surviving the Apartheid Prison. Sedick passed away on 18 October 2012: he is a soaring testament to the indomitable individuals who fought for a new South Africa, MBB is forever grateful to him.

Marcus Solomon (Robben Island political prisoner) was imprisoned on Robben Island for 10 years, then under house arrest for another 5 years, due to his political activism in the Western Cape during apartheid. He is the founder of the Children’s Resource Centre in Cape Town which recognizes children as potential change agents. They meet regularly to discuss and take action in their communities’ most pressing social issues and have now become a national movement in areas of health, environment, culture and media. Solomon is also an Ashoka Fellow, acting as agent for the public, including social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions and potential to change social policies.

Prof. David Coplan (University of the Witwatersrand) is Professor Emeritus in Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has been researching and writing about South African performing arts and media since 1976. He is the author of numerous publications, including most notably In Township Tonight!: South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre (1986). He acted as the Chief Researcher for the “Mobilising Culture and Heritage for Nation Building” in South Africa’s Arts and Culture Department and worked as an ethnographic research consultant for University of Pennsylvania Museum and International Library of African Music.

Prof. Christopher Ballantine (University of KwaZulu-Natal) is an Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an internationally acclaimed researcher on the meaning of music, its social implications and the forces that shape it. His publications cover a wide range of issues in the fields of musicology, the sociology of music, popular music studies and ethnomusicology, including the classic Marabi Nights: Jazz, ‘Race’ and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa, Music and its Social Meanings, and Twentieth Century Symphony. He recently won the UKZN Book Prize for Marabi Nights: Jazz, ‘Race’ and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa.

Dr. Sylvia Bruinders (University of Cape Town, South African College of Music, former political prisoner) is Senior Lecturer and Head of African Music and Ethnomusicology at the South African College of Music where she teaches courses in ethnomusicology, African and World musics. A former Fulbright scholar, her dissertation on the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape received the Nicholas Temperley Award for Excellence in a Dissertation in Musicology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2012 she received the African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to write a monograph based on her doctoral research from which she has already published several articles and book chapters. She is collaborating with photographer Paul Grendon to write a popular book on the Christmas Bands for which she was awarded the ANFASA Grant Scheme for Authors in 2014. As a political activist in the 1980s, she was arrested and held at Pollsmoor Prison.

Prof. Veit Erlmann (University of Texas at Austin), Endowed Chair of Music History at the University of Texas at Austin, is a world authority on contemporary South African music and the author of African Stars. Studies in Black South African Performance (Chicago, 1991) and Nightsong. Performance, Power and Practice in South Africa (Chicago, 1996). As an ethnographer, he has done fieldwork in Morocco (1972), Cameroon (1975-1976), Niger (1979), South Africa (1982-1987), Lesotho (1982), Ecuador (1987), Ghana (1989) and Sumatra, Indonesia; he also works extensively on European cultural history and sound. His current project is an ethnography of intellectual property law in South Africa.

Prof. Charles Korr (University of Missouri), Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, is a social historian of sports and author of the best-selling book More Than Just a Game (2009), which documents the moving story of a unique group of political prisoners on Robben Island, where despite regular torture and beatings, they turned football into a unifying symbol of resistance against apartheid. The story is the basis for a feature-length film of the same title. Whilst teaching at the University of the Western Cape, Korr spent extensive time working in South African archives and interviewing former political prisoners for his ground-breaking research.

Prof. Alex Lichtenstein (Indiana University) is Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he teaches modern U.S. and South African history since 2011. A specialist on the history of labor, incarceration, civil rights, and anti-apartheid activism, he has published widely on the history of prison labor, activism in the American South, and the South African labor movement. . His first book, Twice the Work of Free Labor examined the role of prison labor in the American South. His most recent project is “Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid,” a photographic exhibit shown widely in South Africa, an accompanying website, and a book published in 2016. The recipient of Fulbright, NEH, and Mellon grants, in 2017 he will become editor of the history profession’s flagship journal, The American Historical Review.  His current project on the history of South African industrial relations is called “Making Apartheid Work.”

Prof. Suzanne G. Cusick (New York University), Professor of Music at New York University, studies music as torture in prisons, including the use of noise, music and gender

coercion in the detention and interrogation of prisoners held during the 21st-century’s ‘war on terror,’ work for which she received the Philip Brett Award from the American Musicological Society in 2007. She has also published extensively on gender and sexuality in relation to the musical cultures of early modern Italy and of contemporary North America.