Robben Island - UNESCO Heritage Site
It is one of those places that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The whole tour on the island takes about 4 hours, in which you will find out about the prisoner’s lives in there, including the most famous of them, Nelson Mandela. The last political prisoners left from Robben Island in 1991 and the prison closed in 1996. The island itself was always used as means of isolation of unwelcomed individuals. Apart from prison, there was a leper colony and an animal quarantine station.
Your guide will be one of the former prisoners and you can ask him any questions you want. I was quite shocked by his positive attitude but quickly understood that this is an amazing way to deal with a trauma that could haunt you for life. And what an intimate insight he provided to us about his life there!
As a matter of fact, a lot of former prisoners and guards live now on the island and are neighbours. It is quite an unbelievable way to show the world that it is possible to move forward. Forgive, but not forget, teach the next generations about behaviours and systems that should be avoided at all cost. An amazing symbol of reconciliation and healing.
I have visited few of these horrible places around the world, this was the only one that hasn’t left me emotionally shattered for days. On the contrary, I was leaving the island feeling uplifted and full of hope.