Robben Island - desolation transformed
(Benoît Ferradini CBC/SRC)
On July 16th we visited Robben Island, a small island off the coast of Cape Town. While the scenery in Cape Town is breathtaking, Robben Island - with it's rocky coastline and rugged landscape - has historically been a place of isolation and banishment. During the apartheid regime it was used as a political prison, and many of South Africa's most famous anti-apartheid activists were prisoners here for many years. Today it has been transformed into a living museum - a place for visitors to learn of it's history and celebrate apartheid's end.
Today the island is a wonderful example of the power of the truth and reconciliation process. Former inmates and former prison guards live here together in peace. They have forgiven each other. Today Robben Island is home to a school, a grocery store, and many homes..... but not a police station. And the crime rate? It's zero.
This visit to the island was inspiring and hopeful, despite the tragic history we learned of inside the prison walls.