Sep 30, 2006
Jan 16, 2010
I was lucky enough to score a ticket to Robben Island, which houses the prison built in the 1960's which housed political prisoners opposed to South Africa's system of apartheid. On the island the day I arrived, the weather was beautiful and sunny, giving a false impression of the setting where political prisoners were held for years and treated worse than hardened criminals. For they were more dangerous, a threat to the country and its status quo of discrimination and separation. These pictures show the prison, the island and Mr. Mandela's cell. The most famed inhabitant was the revered Nelson Mandela, who upon his release from prison eventually became President of the new South African nation. He wrote much of the new constitution while in prison. From what I've been told, South Africa still needs Nelson Mandela's leadership and guidance but it seems it is someone else's turn. The state is in a precarious position, with white South Africans leaving in droves and in total distrust of the current government, which they accuse of corruption, nepotism and reverse discrimination. It sounds as though South Africa has a long way to go to achieve Mr. Mandela's vision of a united country with a functioning government.