12 June 2009

We took the ferry to Robben Island today. It's an island about 13 kilometers from Cape Town, where the former apartheid regime kept its political prisoners. Former inmates talk about their experiences, and what it was like in one of the world's most notorious prisons.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in custody, the bulk of that time at Robben Island, where he and other resistance movement leaders spent their days quarrying limestone under very harsh conditions.

The leaders were kept in small cells, in a high security section of the prison. Sometimes sleeping on the cold floor for years at a time, very few privileges. Tuberculosis was a risk, eye sight damage from the constant limestone glare was common.

The prison was shut down with the end of the apartheid regime. Now it's a world heritage site, and a living memorial.

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