I was on the train traveling back from Zimbabwe and held up at the town of Mafikeng on the border between Botswana and apartheid South Africa.
The delay lasted for some 24 hours which gave me the chance to get off the train and go in search of the museum. Amazingly, I found it with the Visitors Book open at the day: May 5 1981. I made my entry: Bobby Sands, MP, died today.
He’d been on hungerstrike in Northern Ireland for 66 days.
Apartheid South Africa was at that time an unpleasant place to be in and as soon as I made the entry I legged it back to the waitng train with the intention of returning one day. But I never did. Next time I was up near the border Mafikeng was a hotspot with white supremecists riding shotgun round the town in one of apartheid’s last choking gasps. Two months later, apartheid officially came to an end on October 7 2010.
Bobby Sands was part of the global struggle for freedom.