Archive for the 'Albert Lutuli' Category


Where Is Robben Island?

For any student of black history, Robben Island is an essential pilgrimage. It’s stuck in the middle of Table Bay a few kilometers off the coast of one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Cape Town, South Africa. Windswept, rocky and only 7 square km (under 3 square miles) Robben Island is washed by the waves of the Indian Ocean, lapping up from south.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” – Nelson Mandela

Low and brushed by the tides Robben Island is more than a shrine for the memories of apartheid. For example, it’s precambrian metamorphic rock is the site of a great deal of bird life and imported mammals from the mainland. Robben Island has a wonderful view of the city of Cape Town and must have served as a constant reminder of South Africans living there of those  imprisoned and exiled there: political prisoners and lunatics.

It has served, in the  past, as a leper colony first voluntary and then compulsorily after 1892.  It was an early place of exile for the Dutch by the British and for the Muslim imam Sayed Abdurahman Moturu sent there in the mid 1740’s (see the memorial image below).  As early as 1525 it is reported that a Portuguese ship dumped prisoners there.

As recently as 1994 the apartheid government of South Africa maintained Robben Island as a political prison.  Nelson Mandela, later president of South Africa and still later Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent 18 long years there under appalling conditions.  We visited his  cell block and could peer into the cell furnished much as Mandela had left it in 1990.  In 1999 Robben Island became a UNESCO world heritage site and today is a pilgrimage for those who reject the hatred of the past.

Today Robben Island is a popular destination for tourists and you need to book reservations in advance for the half hour ride in one of the boats leaving from Victoria and Albert waterfront.

Once you get there you board a bus and are given the broad tour of the island and then ushered into the cell block.  First we see from the bus the black and white ibises nesting, the Muslim shrine, and the rock quarry where Nelson Mandela and others worked digging out stone and meeting in secret in the small cave you can see in the picture.

We see the “reunion cairn” was started in 1995 when Mandela and over 1000 political prisoners revisited Robben Island.  Mandela picked up a rock, carried to the site of the cairn and dropped the rock, followed by the others.  At each 5 year reunion, the cairn is enlarged.

Then we are led from the bus into the cell block…imagine: 18 years.

Robben Island Bus

Catamaran Transport to Robben Island

Former Political Prisoner and Guide Explains Prison Life In Large Cell

Quarry and "reunion rockpile" started by Mandela in 1995

Robben Island Diet Card Blacks and Coloured

Nelson Mandela's Cell

Former political prisoner explains life in the "yard" outside cellblock

Robben Island Moturu Kramat Muslim Shrine

Robert Sobukwe - Leader of Pan African Conference resistence movement

Robben Island - Freedom Boat Picture

Robben Island's Eye View Of Cape Town

Robben Island Leper's Cemetary

The Robben Island Gallery – Click on image to enlarge – hover pointer/cursor over an image for a bit more information.


Victoria and Albert Waterfront Bronzes – Cape Town

Nelson Mandela - 1993 Nobel Peace Prize - President South Africa 1994-99

Nelson Mandela : Imprisoned 27 years, 18  years on Robben Island. Arrested 1962 with help of CIA tip.  Sharpeville Massacre 1960 – police shoot 69 people. This ends Mandela’s peaceful resistance and his entry into the armed front of the ANC (Umkhonto we Sizwe). Mandela was released 1990, after rejecting an offer for freedom 1985 if he would give up armed struggle. He was elected 1994 as president of SA, first in a multi-ethnic vote. 90 years old. married 3 times. Co-winner of 1993 Nobel peace prize with his opposite number, De Klerk.




F W De Klerk - 1993 Nobel Laureate - President South Africa

F W De Klerk president of South Africa at the end of apartheid. De Klerk  actively aided and was a positive influence in the transfer of power to the 79% majority black south Africans. Co-winner of 1993 Nobel peace prize with Mandela.








Bishop Desmon Tutu - 1984 Nobel Peace Prize - Anglican Archbishop South Africa 1986-96

Bishop Desmond Tutu:  born 1931, Anglican cleric, fought against apartheid, disease and homophobia. Winner 1984 Nobel peace prize.









Albert Lutuli - 1960 Nobel Peace Prize - President ANC 1952-67

Albert Lutuli is the least well known of the four.  Son of a Seventh Day Adventist farther, reluctantly elected chief of his tribe, President of the African National Congress, and anti-apartheid activist Lutuli won the Nobel peace prize in 1960 in recognition of his struggle against an unjust government.






South Africa composed of 49 million  people over470,000 sq miles (1.2 Million sq. km) or a little smaller than England and France combined. There are 11 official languages: English 5th most popular and Afrikaans is alive an well.

Terry’s take on the artwork: beautiful sculptures,  I think capturing something of the soul of each man although I’m  unable to match the historical photos of F W De Klerk with this statue. Tutu’s  bronze is a study in  body language – accurately embodying the man.  Mandela’s peacefulness (to me) comes through clearly and distinctly.  I cannot speak of Lutuli but he seems rendered a peaceful, elegant man.

Here’s the square with the four South African Nobel peace prize winners commemorated in bronze: located in the Victoria and Albert Waterfront Wikipedia.

TIP – Hover the mouse/pointer/cursor over the picture for a bit more info.
Gallery 748

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 23 other followers

Terry's Flickr Photostream



Dead Vlei - Namib-Naukluft National Park

Copyright 2010 – Terry Doyle