Thursday, February 17, 2011

Robben Island

Our tour guide shared with us today that Robben Island was the "University of Reconciliation," for not only for those imprisoned, but the guards as well. We encourage you to click on the link to learn more about this World Heritage site.

It was here that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for over 18 years while strengthening and living his message of reconciliation between those who have been oppressed and their oppressors. We learned today that this message of reconciliation got its beginning with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and continued through Nelson Mandela and the other political prisoners on this island.

One of the most powerful experiences we shared was meeting a man, named Jama, who had been a political prisoner on Robben Island from 1976 to 1982. He shared his story of living in this prison with up to 60 men together in one large cell. In his quiet and gentle voice we heard about how hard life was during this time. Jama shared that he has been giving these tours for the past eight months and while it was an emotional challenge at the start, it is getting easier as time goes on. It was a pretty intense four hours.

Once back on the mainland, we spent an evening sharing dinner, some shopping and laughter (ending with a terrifyingly funny ride on a giant ferris wheel overlooking the harbor of Cape Town in "hurricane force winds"....see David for details....Deb for pics :).....).

David & Deb

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