Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Robben Island and Cape Town

January 20th

We went to Robben Island which was originally called Robbe Eilend (seal island) by the Dutch in the mid 17th century due to its large seal population.  For almost 400 years, this island was used as a place for banishment. It was used for criminals, lepers, the mentally ill and for politcal prisoners. 

Here is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in the maximum security prison on this island.

It was a 30 minute boat to arrive at this island which is 11 kilometers north of Cape Town in the icy Atlantic Ocean.  We were first given a bus tour around the island which has a circumference of 12 kilometers.  Below is the cemetery where some of the lepers are buried.

This is the lime stone quarry where the political prisoners worked 5 days a week.  Many of these former prisoners now have lung disease and/or eye disease caused from the dust and the bright sunlight.

A view of Table Top Mountain and the city of Cape Town from this island.  The cloud attached to the mountain is called a tablecloth and it provides much needed moisture for the animals and plants on top of the mountain.

Next, we had a guided walking tour of the prison.  Our guide was Ntando.  He was a political prisoner here for about 10 years.  He as here the same time as Nelson Mandela.  Ntando had protested against apartheid when he was a student.

In the background is the hospital.

Nelson Mandela was in the maximum security prison on the island with the other leaders of the apartheid resistance.  They were confined to small single cells.  The politcal prisoners were considered far more dangerous than the other criminals on the island (ie rapists) who were in the medium security prison.

The bucket is the toilet and the rug is his bed.

The seals have a special area on the Victoria & Alfred  where they can have friendly conversations with each other or just just catch some rays.

We had a wonderful African meal at Mama Africa.

Crocodile kebabs...

Tom negotiating for his Zulu mask...

By late afternoon, the tablecloth was coming over the sides of Table Top Mountain.

These brightly painted houses are in the Bo-Kaap (also known as District 2) section of Cape Town.  Bo-Kaap means "above Cape Town" and is primarily a Muslim community.

A pink house that is calling Leesa's name..


Leesa said...

LOVEEEEE LOVEEE LOVEEEEEE The pink house!! It called to me all the way from Antony!! hehehe!

Love the tablecloth coming off the tabletop.. How COOL!

AND, did you REALLY eat crocodile kebabs?! On my!!!!
Were they good??? Did they taste like chicken?
LOVE your trip pics!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Excellent post and beautiful pictures from a great place.

Notes from Noël said...

Hey Leesa...I'm glad that you heard the pink house calling your name. Yes....Tom did it the crocodile and it did taste like chicken. They also have ostrich, boar, springbok etc on the menu...not very vegetarian!!

Hi Phivos - We are loving South Africa! Everyone is so friendly and the warm, sunny weather is fantastic!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Glad to know it, because we are planning a visit there!