Mandela’s former cell

Date posted: November 13, 2019 | Author: Denis Stupan

Robben Island in Table Bay, was a brutal prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in a tiny cell during the apartheid era. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cornerstone of South African history.

Tours to the island begin with multimedia exhibits in the museum at the Nelson Mandela Gateway on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront before travelers board vessels to the island. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes to an hour depending on weather conditions and can be rough during big swells.

While on the island, visitors tour the maximum security prison,┬áMandela’s former cell, and the lime quarry where prisoners were forced to endure back-breaking labor. The interesting part about the tour is that the guides are former prisoners of Robben Island who share their experiences and offer insight into the atrocities of apartheid and the power of forgiveness.

After leaving this hellish six-square-kilometer island, Mandela said, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”