Oral history and sound archive
This archival collection includes recordings of many interviews with ex-political prisoners, former exiles and political activists; radio broadcasts of Radio Freedom; and unique recordings of speeches and lectures.
Historical papers archive
Key collections in this archive include extensive records of political and labour organisations; the personal papers of leading political figures, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ahmed Kathrada; and many records of recreational and education activities of prisoners on the Island.
Photographic archive The archive comprises approximately thirty thousand negatives, seventy thousand prints and four thousand transparencies, covering the period from the 1940s to the 1980s. The subjects covered include: history of colonialism; history of apartheid; images of apartheid; liberation movements; forced removals and resettlement; repression; political prisoners; trials; labour and trade unions; women; culture; education; armed struggle; and biographies of political activists. Important collections within this archive are the IDAF, Billy Paddock, South and Grassroots Collections.
Films and video archiveThis archive is a unique resource of footage of approximately one thousand documentary productions, and six thousand recordings of unedited footage. It includes archival footage on 8 and 16 mm film formats, and Umatic, Beta and VHS video formats. Important components of this archive include films and videos produced and collected by IDAF and the Afravision collection of raw footage and films.
Artefacts, art, posters and banners The collection includes artefacts that were used as forms of political protest during the anti-apartheid struggle. These include T-shirts, stickers, badges and jewellery, among other items. Ex-political prisoners from Robben Island also donated some personal items used by them during their imprisonment on the Island.
The art collection includes paintings, lithographs, etchings and sculptures that were acquired by UWC and the Mayibuye Archive over time. The art collection primarily serves as a visual record of resistance to the apartheid system and thus all of the works precede 1994. Important components of the art collection include the UNESCO Artists Against Apartheid Exhibition; Albie Sach’s Mozambique Collection of Art; the Transitions Series by the community-based Visual Arts Group in Cape Town 1992; the Abe Berry political cartoon collection; and a collection of banners and posters produced both locally and internationally, that tell the story of mass resistance inside South Africa.
RIM historical artefacts The historical artefact collection includes more than three thousand accessioned objects, which were left on the Island by the prison authorities. It includes prison clothing, items manufactured in the prison workshop, workshop tools, prison registers, a music collection of LP records, sporting equipment and furniture. This collection has been moved to the Mayibuye Archive for preservation reasons due to the harsh environmental conditions on the Island.
Institutional archive collections The institutional archive collection includes organisational records of each Museum department; publicity and educational materials produced by RIM; proceedings of conferences organised by RIM; and copies of publications and productions commissioned to outside agencies by RIM.