Robben Island in Cape Town is home to the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. The tour to the Island leaves three times a day from the the Waterfront in Cape Town and costs 320 South African Rand for adults (which converts to approx €22). The ferry takes about 40 minutes in which time we got to see whales as we neared the island. Once landed, there are buses waiting to bring you on a tour around the island to the main attractions including the grave yard for the lepers who were banished to the island, the Lime Quarry (where the prisoners had to work everyday, with their labouring results being put to no use), and a beautiful stop to look across the water at Table Mountain.
The bus tour ends at the maximum security prison where you depart for the next part of the tour. The maximum security part of the tour unbelievably, is given by former political prisoners!! Due to the prisoners having spent decades of their lives locked within the prison they didn’t seem to want to give much information and only told what they wanted to tell. Even in the question and answers section our guide was very biased and bitter in his answers. Although it was very interesting and unique that they were giving the tour I just feel they are trapped within Robben Island and have not had time to heal and move on (which was very evident from the angry manner). The Tour ends with Mandela’s cell.
As you walk back to the ferry there are murals on the wall with quotes from Mandela and pictures of different groups of prisoners. Robben Island was a truly haunting place and inspired me to do my under graduate dissertation on Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom” and other South African Prison Memoirs.
Quote of the day ♥