Robben Island Travel Blog› entry 9 of 9 › view all entries
Our last day in South Africa and we decided we must visit the nearby island that was turned into a prison during the apartied government. I was told this is where Nelson Mandela was held as a prisoner before he became president of South Africa, but I did not really brush up on my history as much as I should have before traveling to South Africa because that was about all I knew.
We caught the first boat ride out to the island which was shortly after sunrise. The best way I could describe is as someone who went in not realizing the history is that it was similar if you had gone out to visit Alcatrez Island off of San Francisco. However I learned that the prisoners on Robben Island were political prisoners. And many of them did not commit a crime other than not agreeing with the current apartheid government. And rather than former prison guards being our tour guides as is the case at Alcatrez. Here our tour guides were former political prisoners. So the abuse, living conditions, physical labor and the daily lives was much more real and brought to life for us. We were able to visit Nelson Mandela's cell and I left much more interested in South Africa's past than I had ever been. And this was my lesson to study as best I could about an area before traveling there. Because I would make my experience much more complete.