Cape City South Africa – Robben Island (Seal Island) is situated 11 km off the coast from Mouille Level, is clearly seen from the shores of Desk Bay. The island gained notoriety as a political jail, the place those that fell foul of previous South African governments had been incarcerated. Essentially the most well-known prisoner held on the island was Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa from 1994 till 1999.
The notorious island has nonetheless additionally been a jail for different distinguished South African leaders. The Xhosa prophet Makhanda, who within the early 19th century lead his followers in a “holy” struggle in opposition to the British colonists, was imprisoned there in 1819, till his dying from drowning when his boat capsized whereas he was attempting to flee.
The unhappy historical past of the place has included time as a lunatic asylum, a leper colony and as a dumping place for the chronically sick and in any other case undesirable members of society.
At this time Robben Island is an altogether totally different place with a extra nice picture. In 1999 it was declared a World Heritage Website in addition to being a South African Nationwide Monument and Museum. The island helps a small inhabitants who dwell within the tiny village, centrepiece of which is the Church of the Good Shepherd. Since 1997 it has been a museum. The museum is a dynamic establishment, which acts as a focus of South African heritage. It runs instructional programmes for faculties, youths and adults, facilitates tourism improvement, conducts ongoing analysis associated to the Island and fulfils an archiving perform.
Different points of interest on the island are the jail buildings, now open to a restricted variety of guests, and the lighthouse, inbuilt 1864, and nonetheless in every day operation.
For practically 400 years, Robben Island, was a spot of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was right here that rulers despatched these they considered political troublemakers, social outcasts and the undesirable of society.
At this time, nonetheless, Robben Island additionally tells us about victory over Apartheid and different human rights abuses: ‘the indestructibility of the spirit of resistance in opposition to colonialism, injustice and oppression’. Overcoming opposition from the jail authorities, prisoners on the Island after the 1960s had been in a position to organise sporting occasions, political debates and academic programmes, and to claim their proper to be handled as human beings, with dignity and equality. They had been in a position to assist the nation set up the foundations of our fashionable democracy. The picture now we have of the Island right now is as a spot of oppression, in addition to a spot of triumph.
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