With our beloved Madiba critically ill in hospital, visiting Robben Island yesterday was an even more moving experience than expected. I wish I knew more of the history behind some of the photographic images I encountered along our walk. Who were these tortured faces? What had they been convicted of? However, it was profoundly significant to see the tiny cell where Mandela spent 18 years of his life. He may have been shut away, but his spirit and conviction could never be snuffed out...
|Prisoners arriving by boat|
|The release of political prisoners in 1991|
A rather bizarre image below. Christmas on Robben Island?
|Prisoners on Robben Island|
|Views from Robben Island of Cape Town|
|Kramat on Robben Island|
The 'crime' many Political Leaders were 'put away' for - Sabotage...
|Prisoner ID card (Billy Nair)|
|My daughter and friend in the courtyard outside Nelson Mandela's cell (Section B)|
|Cell 5 where prisoner 466/64 remained for 18 years|
|A mat (no mattress) for Nelson Mandela to sleep on|
|Returning 'home' on the ferry|
|A return visit years later (Telegraph)|
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
(Unless otherwise stated, all photographs by Philippa Berrington-Blew)