Sorry for the delay in updating the site but our new Hostel in Mossel bay has a very limited Internet access so we have had to hunt an Internet Cafe down!!
Day 6 - Boat trip to Robben Island.
This is the little island just North of Cape Town that Nelson Mandella (Along with hundreds of other Political Prisoners from the 1950's onwards) spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.
It really had an Alcatraz sort of feel to it but obviously this wasn't quite the same as most of these inmates were jailed for protesting against apartheid rather than nicking stuff!!
When we arrived in the Dock by boat it felt quite eerie actually. It was almost like we weren't gonna be allowed to leave there.
Or for anyone that watches 'Lost' it really seemed like our first day in the Dharma Initiative!!!
The Dock had big photos up of when the prisoners were getting off their boats on to the island. It did kind of hit home the history that this place had.
The tour took us into the cell houses, the court yard where Mandella spent most of his time, Mandella's cell itself and then a tour around the island.
Our guide was a man who had himself spent 6 years captive on the island which seemed quite wierd to us why he would want to spent any more time there!!
He explained it quite well though....
The prisoners on the island did not hate or even dislike the island or the prison guards as in their eyes this was all tied into the apartheid regime as well. Hate or violence towards anyone also a 'victim' of apartheid was not part of their philosophy. In fact the island is almost revered or held affectionately by the prior inmates as without this their fight against apartheid would not have become nearly as apparent to the rest of the world, and without the protests and political backing from the rest of the world aprtheid may still be in place in South Africa.
Because of how the island is viewed by the ex-inmates & even ex-prison guards (many of whom are now close friends), many of them still live on the island with their families teaching visitors of the past failings of the country and the historic significance of this island.
Sorry if that was a bit deep!!
It WAS really cool though man!!!
It was an amazing and very educational trip.
We are even thinking about getting Nelson Mandella's book now and we don't even really read!!!
I can't really remember what we did on the evening but it probably involved a cheese toasty and a beer!!