Sobukwe spent three weeks while recovering from a lung surgery at De Nobrega’s home in the late 1970s.
Netcare has made a recorded interview with De Nobrega available, as part of the 93rd anniversary of Sobukwe’s birth.
De Nobrega said the operation was radical, but Sobukwe’s lung cancer was so extensive that the operation did not cure the cancer. “He had to go through a recovery period of a couple of weeks he stayed with me for three weeks and we spoke a lot about South Africa and what was going on. He was hugely intelligent and we spoke about everything and anything.”
De Nobrega said Sobukwe was happy to be in an environment where he could relax and recover. “One day I asked what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to go for a drive. We got into the car and I say, ‘Where do you want to go?’ and he said he wants to go to Signal Hill. When we got there he got out of the car and I said, ‘What do you want to do now, Robert?’ ‘I want to see Robben Island.’ I didn’t say a word, he spent seven years there and for 10 minutes he sat there looking at Robben Island.”
Netcare chief executive Richard Friedland said: “It is part of the historically significant collection exhibited on the 12th floor of the new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. “We consider it a tremendous honour to be the custodians of this piece of South African history and it has been a fixture of the public display since the hospital opened in its new building on the Cape Town Foreshore in December last year.”
He said they decided to share the interview with people that may not have access to it and is also available on the Netcare website and Facebook page.
“Through Dr De Nobrega’s words, something of the character of this great man, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, comes to life again.”
Sobukwe, the founder of the PAC, died in 1978. He was buried in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. He was born in the Karoo town and was educated at Fort Hare University in Alice.