Robben Island - A Place of Great Struggle
Robben Island is a unique island that has a history of more than 500 years. It is a symbol of suffering, a fight against injustice, and adversity. Due to its significance, numerous people from all across the globe visit this astonishing place every year.
Where is Robben Island?
Robben Island is an oval-shaped island that is approximately 1.9 km wide and 3.3 km long with an area of 5.07 square km. It is located 6.9 km from the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. Today, this island is a tourist spot that was once a prison for numerous political leaders including Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela & Black History of Robben Island
The most prominent personality of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela, shares a deep history with Robben island. In the year 1964, he was brought to the prison of this island where he was prisoned for 27 years. His boundaries were limited to just a small cell where the floor was his bed and was forced to do the hard labor in a quarry.
Only one person was allowed to visit once a year and just for 30 minutes. He was allowed to receive or write a letter every six months. Every effort was made to destroy him mentally, physically, and emotionally. But this island transformed him and with the help of his intelligence and dignified boldness, he was able to mold the brutal prison official according to his own will. Gradually, he gained the leadership of his own jailed companions and later became the master.
Robben Island Turns Into World’s Popula Site
This place has seen the struggle of attaining freedom from racism and as result, in 1999, UNESCO declared Robben Island a World Heritage Site. And now it has turned into a museum.
There are thousands of visitors who arrive here every year from Victoria and Alfred Waterfront of Cape Town to watch the history of the hardship of various political prisoners. Those people who were once prisoners of this place are now working as guides.
Black History of Robben Island
At the end of the 17th century, Robben Island was an area of isolation for political prisoners. Dutch settlers were the first ones to imprison several political leaders from the Dutch colonies. In 1806, a whaling station was opened by John Murray on this island.
At the time of the fifth Xhosa Wars, the Britishers defeated the natives Xhosas and sentenced African leader Makanda Nxele to life on Robben Island. He tried to escape from the island and died due to drowning.
This island was also once used as a quarantine place for sick animals and a leper colony. It was used by the government of South Africa to imprison criminals and political prisoners.
It is also believed that navigating around Robben Island was next to impossible as the coastlines were jagged and the security was high. In records, there were 31 ships that were demolished near this island.
A Beautiful Side of Robben Island
Apart from the black history, it has one astonishing place which always attracts new tourists, it is the population of penguins. This place seeks the attention of numerous tourists every year. You can see the Penguins in their natural habitat.