Cape Town A Visit to Robben Island

April 07, 2017
Cape Town  A Visit to Robben Island

How many cities have prisons as famous - or infamous - landmarks?San Francisco has Alcatraz; London has its Tower; and Cape Town has infamous Robben Island. Like San Francisco's Rock and London's grim Tower, Robben Island was not a place in which you could have wanted to be a visitor all through the time it turned into in operation as a jail. It turned into no longer an institution for rehabilitation. It became the region wherein South Africans like Nelson Mandela have been incarcerated because of their opposition to the apartheid system. Today it's miles a traveller attraction, and a monument to South Africa's conflict for liberation.

Hell on Earth

Robben Island is flat and windswept and lies only a few kilometres from the Cape Town waterfront. The island covers best six rectangular kilometres, however from 1961 to 1991 this small piece of ground was hell on the planet for each political prisoners and common criminals. All of the warders, however none of the prisoners, were white. Men incarcerated right here have been subjected to difficult labour and ordinary beatings. They have been allowed to wear only mild garb despite icy winds that blew off the sea. Robben Island's maximum well-known prisoner, Nelson Mandela, who arrived in 1963, became kept for 16 hours an afternoon in a solitary confinement cellular measuring most effective  rectangular metres.

Former Prisoners and Warders

Today, former prisoners and warders paintings as courses and interpreters on Robben Island, giving traffic first hand accounts in their experiences. To visit the island, you must get a price tag at the Nelson Mandela Gateway on the Cape Town waterfront. The tickets sold by using other companies are for cruises that only cross near the island, however do not really land there. The catamaran trip across the water takes approximately half of an hour. You disembark on the harbour of Murray's Bay, and board a bus so that you can take you on a tour of the island and then to the jail. As you step ashore, you would possibly like to think for a second of the men who, when they first set foot on the island, knew that it would be years earlier than they could leave.

A Shrine and a Graveyard for Lepers

Your excursion bus will forestall at a shrine referred to as the Kramat, which honours the reminiscence of a Muslim cleric called Tuan Guru. He turned into imprisoned here via the Dutch in the 18th century. When he became launched, he worked as an Islamic missionary many of the slaves of Cape Town. You can even visit a church, and a leper graveyard; a reminder of the days within the early twentieth century while the island changed into used as a leper colony. Another monument to harsh punishment and courage is the Robert Sobukwe House, in which the black African chief turned into held in solitary confinement for nine years. At the lime quarry, you will see in which Nelson Mandela and different prisoners laboured for decades. Mandela nevertheless has physical problems from his time right here.

Maximum Security Prison

Finally you come to the Maximum Security Prison, one of the most dreaded homes within the history of Cape Town and South Africa. Here, a former inmate will guide you thru B-Section, a compound of tiny rooms that has grow to be legendary within the story of the fight against apartheid. Nelson Mandela's cellular has been left simply as it become on the day of his launch. In A-Section you may see an showcase called Cell Stories, which educates traffic about prison life. In 1999 Robben Island become declared a UN World Heritage Site.

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