South Africa as all know, has a brutal past in its treatment of people of color. Today we boarded a boat for a short ride to Robben Island the infamous prison that incarcerated Nelson Mandela as well as all of the other non-white protestors of apartide. Our guides were a young, amusing university educated fellow who was in charge of the island bus tour and a gentleman who spent more than 10 years locked away from his family.
He spoke to us of conditions that were so horrible that it brought tears to my eyes. The government did everything possible to make the inmates feel as if they were sub human from the clothing not issued…no underpants or socks…to diet…just above starvation levels. And the isolation…23 hours in cell that is smaller than a dog kennel. Afterwards he told me that he had no formal education. He became the articulate man is today by virtue of the education he received from the men who were imprisoned with him. Many were highly educated and made it their mission to secretly teach those who had no schooling.
Although the sky was pristine, the cable car to the top of Table Mountain was a no go because of weather. Didn’t really matter, our wagonmasters, Jim and Gisela took us to the base and the view from there was unbelievable. Then as a bonus the driver drove up to the top of Lion’s Head. Different mountain with a slightly different view of the sprawling city far below nestled against the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.