Reverend Colin Chambers

Pupils at the Royal Hospital School meet the Chaplain to Nelson Mandela

The former South African President was remembered this month at the Royal Hospital School during a visit by Reverend Colin Chambers, a former prison chaplain on Robben Island. Reverend Chambers gave two talks on his unique experiences and insights, preaching in chapel during a Sunday service and presenting to Year 12 pupils, which was followed by a Q&A session.

He described Nelson Mandela as ‘a man who could get on with anyone’ and talked on the themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and optimism; drawing on the examples of the people he met in the prison and their attitudes to their hardships. Sixth Form pupil, Carla M, said “it was truly inspirational to see photographs and hear from someone who had witnessed such a significant time in modern history as South Africa ended apartheid”.

Following his career as a Commander in the South African Navy, Reverend Chambers became a prison chaplain and served on Robben Island where he was chaplain to the late Nelson Mandela for eight years. The African National Congress leader was moved from Robben Island in 1982 and finally released from prison in 1990. Mandela spent a total of 27 years in jail under South Africa’s apartheid government including 18 years in the notorious island prison off the coast of Cape Town.