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Freedom Fighter Escape Facts

Approaching the challenge of getting out of prison with audacity and ingenuity, Tim is seen here with a key. He and the other escapees made and tested keys fashioned in wood work classes right under the noses of their captors and smuggling these parts around the prison. Over months of trial and error, they unlocked their cells and then tested their keys on each of the ten doors that led to freedom, coming up with clever schemes to avoid patrolling guards.

Tim and Stephen plot and plan escaping the prison.  (View larger version)

Photograph by Raw Television/Ian Bremmer

  • Convict Alexander Anderson built the first prison in Pretoria. He was sentenced to 12 months of hard labor, but was promised that if he built the prison, he’d be pardoned.

  • The African National Congress (ANC) started in 1912 and helped lead the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

  • In the nineteenth century, thirteen offenders tried to escape Pretoria Central Prison by lifting one of the slates covering the floors and digging a tunnel. They were rearrested and the floors were covered in concrete in 1884.

  • South Africa’s is just less than twice the size of Texas.

  • Nearly 50 million people live in South Africa.

  • In 1948, South Africa’s National Party created a policy of apartheid, favoring the white minority at the expense of the black majority.

  • Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.

  • Mandela spent decades in prison, primarily Robben Island, off Cape Town, for his activities with the ANC. He was released in 1990.

Brenda Chai
Brenda Chai

Were Tim, Stephen and Alex rearrested after their escape?