Melissa's Journals

Melissa's HomeTo the MotherlandRobben Island


To the Motherland

Robben Island |

Our tour of Robben Island was led by a former prisoner. Our guide served his full 20-year sentence in which one of the elders that served at the same time was Nelson Mandela, among others.

Robben Island, the prison is no longer in use as such. Now Robben Island is its own community where former prisoners and guards live together. Our guide taught us a lot about forgiveness when he mentioned how he's even been to dinner with former guards who would beat and torture him during his stay in prison. He said, he chose to stay on the island, where at least he could get a job. During his visits to the mainland, he often visits fellow prisoners living on the streets because they still can't get jobs, innocent or guilty.

We also saw where Luthuli was kept in isolation along side the dog cages.

On the ferry-boat ride to Robben Island, I rode next to a white South African who said this was his first visit to the Island. On the way back, we talked about what the visit meant to him. He was very moved by the experience and offered that he didn't know all that was going on while Mandela and others were imprisoned. It reminded me a lot of how our media skews the truth and omits information. But I still believe it is up to the individual to find out the truth and not rely on what is being fed to you.

Locations Visited: Cape Town

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