Saturday, 23 April 2016
Lovely News Package on Sonny at a recent performance of RIB at the Robben Island Museum
Before Surinarayan (or, Sonny) Venkatrathnam was released from Robben Island in 1977 he asked around 30 fellow inmates to sign the book he called his Bible. In fact, the text was the Collected Works of William Shakespeare, which Venkatrathnam concealed as a holy book. Once the tome had been passed around, it was annotated with signatures for political heavyweights like Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada. Each fellow had signed their name and the date alongside a favourite extract of the Bard's writing.
For the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare's death (said to be on 23 April 1616) Venkatrathnam treturned to Robben Island with the book. He and fellow inmate Eddie Daniels participated in a special programme recognizing the Bard's work and the special connection between Shakespeare and the lives on inmates at Robben Island prison.