Robben Island

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Jun 02, 2006

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, April 24, 2006

One place that we thought important to visit during our stay in Cape Town, especially for the kids, was Robben Island. Robben Island is the place where all those who opposed the apartheid regime were imprisoned, including of course, its most famous prisoner Nelson Mandela, who was there for 18 of his 27 years in jail.

We took a fast ferry to the Island. Once there we boarded buses and were given a guided tour of the island. It was a very sobering experience. Our guide were a very eloquent, passionate and powerful speaker and told the story as it was. He did not rant and rave or dramatize anything. This made it much more compelling and moving. Our bus was very quiet as he described some details of what went on at the prison, all you could hear was some of the people sniffling...

The final part of the tour was a visit of the main prison. Our guide this time was a former political prisoner who was imprisoned for 5 years (from the age of 17 to 22) on Robben Island; again, another eloquent and passionate speaker. Following his talk, he took us to the main cell blocks of the prison including cell block B where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and his actual cell, which was set up as it was when he was in prison.

This was one of these experiences that cause one to pause for reflection and realize that most of us have it pretty good. The kids, on their part, remained quite attentive and remained interested throughout the 3hr visit.
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