Robben Island

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Robben Island
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Robben Island
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Overview

Robben Island is famous, or rather infamous, as the holding place for the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison sentence on the island and it has become synonymous with the struggle.

Now, Robben Island is a World Heritage Site and museum, offering daily tours. The tour begins at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront with a multimedia exhibition, museum shop and restaurant, after which, guests hop onto the ferry for a scenic trip to the island. Once on Robben Island itself, the tour is guided by a former political prisoner of the island, for unique and incomparable insights into the island’s history.

Parents who want their children to learn more about South Africa’s political history and gain insight into the struggles and triumphs of the past, will find this Robben Island experience one of the many ways to share South Africa’s history and ensure that our children appreciate our city’s heritage.

Robben Island Lighthouse

The lighthouse on Robben Island is a shining symbol on an already very symbolic island. Built using locally quarried stone, it dates back to 1865. But during his time imprisoned on the island, Nelson Mandela was forced to quarry the same type of stone.

The circular tower is still operational, and flashes every seven seconds. View the lighthouse on the Robben Island Museum tour. Ferries for the tour leave daily from the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront.

The Kramat of Tuan Matarah

Also known as Sayed Abduraghman Motura, was well-known for bringing comfort to prisoners on Robben Island when they were ill. Tuan Matarah passed away on Robben Island, and his Kramat serves as a shrine for remembering his influence of Islam in Cape Town. The Kramat in his honour can be viewed on the Robben Island Museum tour. Ferries for the tour leave daily from the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront.

Off the island

In addition to experiences on the Island, there are a number of free Robben Island Museum exhibits on the mainland. This includes the Jetty 1 site, the historical departure point to Robben Island.

Visit for the multimedia interactive exhibition, telling stories from those who went through that space. Also included are accounts of ex-political prisoners, ex-prison warders and their families.

Tucked inside the bustling V&A Waterfront harbour, this is a hidden gem of history that even locals are surprised by.

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