Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

1 Guest Review
1 Customer Reviews
 
(1)
 
(0)
 
(0)
 
(0)
 
(0)

Description

��Today when I look at Robben Island, I see it as a celebration of the struggle and a symbol of the finest qualities of the human spirit, rather than as a monument to the brutal tyranny and oppression of apartheid. It is true that Robben Island was once a place of darkness, but out of that darkness has come a wonderful brightness, a light so powerful that it could not be hidden behind prison walls… ' Nelson Mandela

This famous little windswept island has captured hearts and minds around the globe. Situated just a few kilometers from the glitzy Waterfront, it was “home” to Nelson Mandela for almost 20 years. The intention to silence anti-apartheid leaders by imprisoning them on Robben Island had the opposite effect. Instead, Robben Island came under the spotlight as a focal point for international resistance to the regime. Today it has become a symbol of freedom, the transformative power of forgiveness, and a place of political pilgrimage. The entire 6 square kilometer island is now a UN World Heritage Site.

In 1961 an austere maximum-security prison was built on Robben Island. It was here that Nelson Mandela was sent after receiving a life imprisonment sentence in 1963. Political and common-law prisoners were initially lodged together. Contact with the outside world was limited to receiving and sending two letters a year. Beatings, hard physical labour in the lime quarry, prolonged solitary confinement and insufficient food, bedding and clothing were endured for many years. Hunger strikes, legal action and international pressure eventually brought better conditions. The prison even became an informal university behind bars, with prisoners tutoring their warders. 1991 saw the release of the remaining political detainees and in 1996 the common-law prisoners were transferred to the mainland.

Daily tours depart by ferry from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Waterfront. The ferry trip takes 30 minutes to the tiny harbour. From there a bus ride takes one to historic places like the kramat, leper graveyard, a church designed by Sir Herbert Baker and the lime quarry where political prisoners endured lengthy hours of tough physical labour. Driving along the shipwreck strewn coast you can spot some antelope, plentiful seabirds and the lighthouse. The last stop is the maximum security prison.

The guides are former inmates and will take you along the Footsteps of Mandela tour in the notorious B-section. Mandela’s sparse cell is open, the others locked and empty. The A-section houses the Cell Stories exhibition, evoking the meagerness of prison life. Former prisoners have loaned personal items including an amazing saxophone that works, crafted from found bits and pieces. Have a look at the interesting Smuggled Camera Exhibition in the communal cells. Prisoners managed to slip cameras onto the island in the late 1980s. The enlarged photos are heart warming, giving an indication of their solidarity, friendship and expectancy that it would soon be over. The entire trip lasts three and a half hours and costs around R150.

Need to know? Ferries depart at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The standard tour to Robben Island is three-and-a-half-hours long, including the two half-hour ferry rides. For bookings: (0) 21 413 4200.

Robben Island Museum
Tel: +27 (0) 21 409 5169

Nelson Mandela Gateway
Tel: +27 (0) 21 413 4200

Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway Map

In and Around

Customer Reviews

Reviews 1 of 1
Showing 1 to 1 of 1

Great - Great, emotional experience. A must for every South African.

Anya Viviers
South Africa

Accommodation near Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

from R2,500
1 night, 2 adults

Kiara Luxury Yacht

Sleeps 10 V and A Waterfront Self-catering, V and A Waterfront Houseboat in V and A Waterfront
0.21km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Kiara is a classic luxury 114 ft super yacht. It is a superb, privately owned retreat moored in one...

from R2,400
1 night, 2 adults

Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Sleeps 188 V and A Waterfront Hotel in V and A Waterfront
0.27km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

This landmark hotel is perfectly situated in the heart of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and off...

from R2,200
1 night, 2 adults

Bannockburn 603

Sleeps 6 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.29km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Bannockburn 603 presents a lifestyle second to none where convenience, security and comfort are matc...

from R3,850
1 night, 2 adults

Dock House Boutique Hotel and Spa

Sleeps 10 V and A Waterfront Hotel in V and A Waterfront
0.29km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Originally built as the harbour master’s private residence in the 1800’s, this grand architectural g...

Sun International The Table Bay Hotel
Special
Deal
from R5,295
1 night, 2 adults

Sun International The Table Bay Hotel

Sleeps 766 V and A Waterfront Hotel in V and A Waterfront
0.41km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

The Table Bay Hotel, located on Cape Town's V & A Waterfront, straddles the antique breakwater, and ...

from R3,810
1 night, 2 adults

Waterfront Village (Three Bedroom Apartments)

Sleeps 72 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.43km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Three bedroom apartments can sleep six guests, offer magnificent views from the lounge and balcony a...

from R1,800
1 night, 2 adults

Mountain Marina

Sleeps 80 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.44km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Mountain Marina is a collection of one and two-bedroom apartments, designed to provide the ultimate ...

from R2,100
1 night, 2 adults

Waterfront Village (One Bedroom Apartments)

Sleeps 52 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.44km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

One bedroom apartments have Canal or Table Mountain views. They offer air-conditioning and either Do...

from R2,000
1 night, 2 adults

Atlantic Marina

Sleeps 222 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.45km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Atlantic Marina apartments consist of one, two and three bedroom high-end luxury apartments ideally ...

from R3,000
1 night, 2 adults

Waterfront Village (Two Bedroom Apartments)

Sleeps 100 V and A Waterfront Self-catering in V and A Waterfront
0.47km from Robben Island Museum and Nelson Mandela Gateway

Situated within the world famous V&A Waterfront, guests staying at the Waterfront Village can reach ...

 
  • Popular Attractions
     
  •  www.robben-island.org.za
  •  +27 (0)21 413 4220/1 infow@robben-island.org.za

Great…”  Read more

Anya Viviers - 30 June 2011