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Robben Island
Cape Town

Mandelas prison cellThe living conditions were, particularly in the early years, extremely bad. Prisoners had to labour in the quarry, were not dressed sufficiently and had to sleep on a thin strawmatt on the stonefloor. Through strikes and endless protests, in 1971 the prisoners achieved the implementation of more humane conditions and were also allowed to study. Mandela himself describes his 27 years on Robben Island very impressively in his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom".

Robben Island ferryRobben Island is nowadays a national memorial and a museum. The fast catamaran ferries leave every day hourly from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Waterfront's Clock Tower. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes and the guided tour of the island about two hours. A former inmate acts as tour guide around the prison and will show one Mandela's cell. There is a bus one can take to the lime quarry, where the prisoners had to labour in the blinding sun without protection.

Transfer and tour cost 150 Rand per person. Children pay half. Tel 021-4111006. eMail. Robben Island Museum has an informative website.
Robben Island and Nelson Mandela
Top: Nelson Mandela. Below: Prison. Top right: Robben Island. Centre: Mandela's cell. Below: Island ferry.
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