Nelson Mandela Foundation

Rivonia Trial

Kathrada Trial

A document from the Rivonia Trial that forms part of Ahmed Kathrada’s archival materials at the Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archives.

The Rivonia Trial, arguably the most significant political trial in South African history, generated a vast archive, ranging from the official court records to media coverage of the trial. This database, and the records audit on which it is built, constitutes a first step towards documenting the archive.

The need for the database was determined by the fragmentary and scattered nature of the archive. At inception, the database included entries for more than 60 institutions and more than 160 archival collections. In addition, the official trial record is not complete, with some files having been lost by the apartheid administration and others stolen from its custody.

This is a work in progress. Concentrated initial research, focused on major collections in South Africa, was conducted between May and November 2009. We welcome additional information. Please forward comments, queries and suggestions to

Click here to search the Rivonia Trial Database.