The city of Cape Town is situated on the south western tip of the African continent, in 1 of the most lovely all-natural areas in the planet.
How several Cape Town guests are conscious that our historic, enigmatic Robben Island is essentially the summit of an ancient mountain, now hidden beneath the waves and linked to the Blouberg coastline by an undersea saddle?
Robben Island is created up of a reduce layer of Malmesbury shale which shapes its wild coastline, covered by a layer of limestone and calcrete, and topped by sand and a myriad fragments of shell. The island measures five.six kms approx. from north to south and two.six kms approx. from east to west. The highest point is 24 metres above sea level.
The inhospitable submerged rocks ringing the coastline of the island have the reputation of sinking some 22 ships beginning with the Yeanger of Horne in 1611.
Early seafarers referred to Robben Island Cape Town as the Isle of Purgatory separated as it is from the Cape mainland by a rough stretch of ice cold Atlantic Ocean.
The crews of passing ships had been initially to land on the island in the 1500s to replenish their meals supplies from the meat of the seals and penguins, and Robben Island was so named from the Dutch word Robbe for ‘seal’
Robben Island became a Unesco Globe Heritage internet site in 1999. It remains an generally painful reminder of dark days in South Africa, and a symbol of human dignity and suppression throughout the Apartheid years of the Nationalist Government. Its goal for several years was as a kind of nearby Alcatraz to imprison dissidents, political opponents – freedom fighters and enemies of the Apartheid regime.
Because the initially human occupation of the Cape, Robben Island Cape Town has worn a quantity of guises. It has been applied as a postal centre, sheep farm, whaling station, mental asylum, leper colony, hospital, a garrison and a prison.
The island had turn into a prison colony as early as the mid 1600s. Khoi and slave criminals had been sent there from the mainland. A single Sheikh Madura who opposed Dutch colonialism in his native East Indies, was also imprisoned on Robben Island. His shrine stands close to the prison constructing.
In later years, Bushmen and Xhosa chiefs, defeated in the Eastern Frontier wars had been banished to Robben Island.
From 1846 Robben Island became a hospital for ‘lunatics’ lepers and chronically ill folks from poorer communities. It quickly created a reputation for poor sanitary situations. The water was terrible and the meals poor. There followed a leprosy ‘scare’ in the 1880s when several leprosy sufferers had been rounded up and shipped to Robben Island.
Throughout the 1930s the hospital buildings had been burnt down and in anticipation of war, Robben Island was fortified by massive guns and occupied by a nearby artillery college. The arms on the other hand had been by no means applied in combat and in 1959 the island was taken more than by the then Division of Prisons.
The initially political prisoners arrived at Robben Island Cape Town in 1962. They had been followed by members of the then banned African National Congress such as the most effectively recognized, Nelson Mandela who, soon after several years in exile on the island, was to turn into president of South Africa in 1994.
Prison situations had been harsh in these years and the warders had been renowned for their brutality. The prisoners had been created to do challenging manual labour in a lime quarry, but in their cost-free time committed themselves to continuing the struggle, even though studying and fighting illiteracy.
The ANC was unbanned in 1990 and by the following year the air of political transform was becoming felt in South Africa. Democracy was lastly a reality. The Nationalist government of South Africa gave in to demands and the final prisoners left Robben Island in May perhaps 1991.
The island has been opened to the public and has turn into a preferred if not important location for Cape Town guests. Tours on the island are run by the Robben Island Museum Tours Division and some tour guides are ex-political prisoners who reside on the island.
You do not need to have to book days in advance of your trip to Cape Town if you want to go to Robben Island. When you arrive in the city make your way to the V&A Waterfront exactly where you are going to obtain a booking workplace at the ‘Nelson Mandela Gateway’.
Guided tours to Robben Island take three.five hours such as a return boat trip from Cape Town Waterfront, A go to to the prison and a bus tour with commentary