PAC leader Robert Sobukwe is released


Pan-Africanist Congress leader, Robert Sobukwe, was arrested after the Sharpeville anti-pass campaign of 1960 and harshly sentenced to three years in prison.

At the end of his sentence, Parliament enacted a General Law Amendment Act, which empowered the Minister of Justice to prolong the detention of any political prisoner indefinitely.

Subsequently, Sobukwe was moved to Robben Island, where he remained for an additional six years. The Minister of Justice, Jimmy Kruger, announced that Sobukwe was being released from detention on 13 May 1969.

On his release, Sobukwe was allowed to join his family in Galeshewe, Kimberley. However, he still remained under twelve-hour house arrest under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. Sobukwe was therefore prohibited from taking part in political activities as result of the banning order, and as such could not be quoted by any person or by the press.

During his incarceration Sobukwe obtained an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of London, and also began studying for a Law Degree. References: “Robert Sobukwe, biography” [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2009]

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