Lydon Bouah and Marion Keim

Lydon Bouah Bio

Dr Lyndon Bouah is the Chief Director for Sport and Recreation in the province of the Western Cape. He has contributed to the writing of the National Sport and Recreation Plan in South Africa. he is currently a member of the Netball World Cup 2023 Board.







Marion KleinMarion Keim is Professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Sports Sciences and Development (at University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

Her research interests include sport and community development, leadership, multiculturalism, conflict transformation, youth development and sport as a means for social transformation and peace building.

Marion is the Chairperson of the Foundation for Sport, Development and Peace. She is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and certified in Mediation and Sports Law. Marion is a Networker and Mentor. She has coordinated numerous national and international sport and development projects. Prof. Marion Keim is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture and of the Eminent Person’s Group for Sport . and Transformation, South Africa. She is member of IOC Education Commission and he President of the Pierre de Coubertin Committee of South Africa. She is the author, co-author, compiler and editor over books and serves on numerous international editorial boards and lectures internationally.




Lessons from the digitisation process of the Robben Island Sport Records

Unknown to many is the fact that sport and recreation played an essential role in the lives of the prisoners at Robben Island during apartheid. Upon their release in 1991 many documents were discovered which were collected during their incarceration. The prisoners when released carried their possessions in cardboard boxes, often apple boxes with them to the mainland. These materials are significant to South Africa’s sport history and are housed today at the Robben Island Mayibuye Archives at the University of the Western Cape.

In 2010 a process was embarked upon to digitise the materials which included amongst others, documents of the African National Congress and the General Recreation Committee of Robben Island with its constitution and recreation plans.

The authors will report on the thematic approach and research design used to digitise this important collection as well as on its significant historical findings. The records demonstrate the political prisoner’s efforts to turn the prison with its abnormal harsh conditions and racial hatred into a normal community space through sport and recreational activities which became a tool of physical, spiritual and mental therapy. The role of sport and recreation in the course of the struggle for liberation and its impact and ultimate success to withstand cruelty of the apartheid regime from 1967 to 1991. Many prisoners share the belief that life on the island would have been unimaginable without sport and recreation.

The digitisation of the Robben Island records are an important source for researchers and historians to ensure that this side of the story of South African sport becomes as well known to the public as the stories of the politics and hardships of the time and of Robben Island.

Key Words: Robben Island – Apartheid regime – Digitisation – Sport and recreation –  Prisoners – Physical, spiritual and mental therapy – Archive

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