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How South Africa's leaders trained themselves for leadership at Robben Island.
FROM: PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: MAY 8, 2009
SEE FULL CABLE
Life in the Struggle
¶10. (SBU) As an underground member of the banned ANC and the SACP, young Jacob Zuma was urged to go into exile, gain military training, and join the fight against apartheid. In June 1963, the 21 year old Zuma was arrested with 45 other young comrades in Zeerust, in the Transvaal (now North West Province), as they were walking to Botswana into self-imposed exile. He was detained for ninety days, then tried and sentenced to ten years in prison for "conspiracy to overthrow the government." Zuma spent the next ten years incarcerated with many other political prisoners, including the senior ANC leadership in prison such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, among other political prisoners at the infamous Robben Island. While in Robben Island, in what had become the ANC's graduate school, they discussed the U.S. civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the African independence movement, and the global ideological contest of the Cold War.