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Apparently he was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes. His duty in the prison included hard labor in a quarry, it is said that the man went about his business with utmost grace and humility, pretty much the same way he brought South Africa out of Apartheid.
The fellow prisoner who now serves as a local guide in Robben Island states one more interesting fact - whenever Mandela met a political prisoner in the jail, he always asked a typical question, "Are you studying?"
One incident brings some insight about Mandela's leadership - The prisoners in Robben Island which was a very cruel place to be in were always forced to hustle hard in all their hefty tasks, every single day, Mandela being the absolute leader that he is helped the inmates by motivating them to take as much time as they needed, this it seems made life a little less horrid.
Although no books nor letters were permitted inside the prison, Sonny Venkatrathnam , a fellow political prisoner is said to have smuggled a book ("Everything about Shakespeare") into the jail which Madiba took a particular liking to. He apparently found immense universal cues from this book and is said to quote lines from the books often times.
Madiba's competitive spirit can be gauged from one particular incident which his fellow inmates remember with much fondness. It seems Madiba was the master of Attrition. A classic case in point being a game of chess against an young medical student which is said to have gone upto more than 6 hours, each move taking almost forever which eventually led the young man to give up.
Madiba's personality and life is such an epic lesson for all of us to imbibe - Humility, Grace and Leadership through all the extremities he lived through is what makes humanity humane. Just one phrase he mentioned after he was released moved me beyond expression. I read it recently - "I went on a long holiday - for 27 years" - Dayum, 27 years of prison between leading a country to a new dawn.
It absolutely made my day knowing what a colossal service this man has rendered. Although these are very few details I have mentioned, it made me realize what a small being I am in this world where a gentleman like this lived.