Sunday, May 15, 2016

Robben Island

On our second day in Cape Town, we took a ferry out to Robben Island to see the prison where many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were held under apartheid. On the way to the ferry, we saw these statues of South Africa's four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Albert Lutuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, and Nelson Mandela.

We're enjoying the ferry ride to the island.

The prison was closed in 1996 and soon became a museum, with much of the prison infrastructure left in place.

We boarded a bus for a tour around the island, which included this limestone quarry, where Mandela and others did their hard labor. The rock pile in the middle of the open area is a memorial to the apartheid struggle, which each rock having been placed there by a former prisoner during a reunion after the closure of the prison.

The building on the left was the site of Robert Sobukwe's lengthy solitary confinement. The two rows on the right are dog kennels.

A cemetery where many prisoners are buried.

Following the bus tour, we were taken on a walking tour of the prison barracks by a former political prisoner. Like some other prisoners, he now lives with his family on Robben island, alongside some of his former captors.

Nelson Mandela's prison cell, with bedroll and toilet bucket.

Reminiscent of the view of San Francisco from Alcatraz, prisoners at Robben Island could look across Table Bay to Cape Town.

After the tour, we waited at the dock for the return ferry to Cape Town.

We're on the boat heading back.

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