Sunday, August 17, 2008

Robben Island

Robben Island (Afrikaans Robbeneiland) is an island in Table Bay, some seven kilometres off the coast of the Cape Town bay, South Africa and is located at 33.806734° S 18.366222° ECoordinates: 33.806734° S 18.366222° E. The name is Dutch for "seal island". (Incidentally, "Seal Island" is a different island in nearby False Bay.) Robben Island is roughly oval in shape and about a kilometre wide. It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group. It is of particular note as it was here that former South African President and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era.

All the land on the island is owned by the State, with the exception of the island church.
Today the island is a popular tourist destination and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. It is reached by ferry from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town and is open throughout the year, weather permitting, and tours of the island and prison are led by guides who were formerly prisoners there. Robben Island Museum (RIM) operates as a site or living museum

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