Prisoner 885/63


I remember how excited we were when asked to host a comrade from the ANC in Sundsvall. It was in autumn of 1987. I had been involved in international work for the Social democratic party for some time. It was now just about one year since our Prime Minister Olof Palme had been murdered. What better way to honour his memory but to work politically and internationally.

It turned out that it was Indres Naidoo exiled ANC member that would come to stay with us in Sundsvall for a few weeks where he would participate and study different activities connected with our political life at the local and regional levels. Indres was a prisoner at the renown Robben Island  between the years of 1963 and 1973. There was a book published by Penguin in 1982 “Island in chains”. In it Indres describes to Albie Sachs what life was like when chained down by a rasist regime .

A flat was rented for him in Skönsberg and I followed him whenever I had the opportunity. Indres was here as part of a program of solidarity where Sweden stood firm when many other countries ignored the struggle against the system of apartheid.

This is how Indres described his sortie from Lusaka, Zambia where he was working at the time.” I got to Zambia and while I was there, I was appointed to go to Sweden. It was chaotic. Only two of us were on the plane instead of nine. There was chaos between ANC and the Swedish embassy in Lusaka. The two of us landed in Stockholm and a week later the others joined us. The Social Democratic Party was having a congress in Stockholm and Prime Minister Carlsson invited us to have lunch with him, all of us. But, unfortunately, because only two of us had arrived they had to cancel that. However, there was a big welcome for us. We also went to attend the Social Democratic Party congress. I looked around and the first thing that struck me was all the red banners and the letters SAP. I started to laugh and said: ‘Oh God, SAP—South African Police— everywhere’. But I realized that SAP was short for the Swedish Social Democratic Party.”

Indres and I in 1987.


2 thoughts on “Prisoner 885/63

  1. Dear Joao,
    Congratulations on an excellent article.
    I found your blog while googling Indres Naidoo.
    I lived in Swaziland in the early 80s and met several ANC comrades at that time. Someone gave me a copy of Island in Chains, telling me “You have to read this!”. It touched me very deeply – I have never forgotten it!
    I would really like to send a note to Indres.
    Would you be able to help me?
    Many thanks – and all the best for the continued success of your blog.
    Helen Sayers

    • Dear Helen. Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately I have lost track of Indres even though we have met a couple of times after his Sundsvall experience! I might write something about those encounter at a later stage. Did you meet Indres personally? My hope is that someone knowing of his whereabouts will find these texts and come back to me! Best regards

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