Friday, January 30, 2015

A Long Walk To Freedom...

Day one in Cape Town started with a tour of Robben Island.  We joined our good friends, Elder and Sister Blatter who were spending the last few days of their mission there.  Sister Blatter and I always said it was a good thing that we did not serve in closer proximity to each other or our missionary work would have faltered.  We have a great time together.  In the second picture you can see us gabbing.  Elder Blatter said to President Wheeler, "If you took everything these two women said that is of worth it would fit on a postage stamp!"  He is correct, and I love it!

 This is the ferry that was our ride over to Robben Island.  President Wheeler and I both just finished reading Nelson Mandela's book, "The Long Walk To Freedom".  We both highly recommend this book.  The Lord puts certain people in place to change the course of history.  Nelson Mandela was one of those chosen men.  Not only did he change world history but because of his efforts the LDS church is here in South Africa.

This professional mural was our greeting as we entered the island.  "Freedom cannot be manacled".  "Repression, Release, Respect." 

 The sign below was made by the prisoners.  Robben Island was opened in the 1600's and has been used to house convicted criminals, a hospital for lepers, and political prisoners.  Our tour guide was a former political prisoner who was there with Nelson Mandela.

This is a view of the courtyard where prisoners were given the task of chipping lime rocks for building purposes.

Eighteen of his 27 years in prison were spent in this cell.  Cell #7.  Building B.
Sleeping arrangements were these two mats.  The mats were similar to wool carpet padding.  Bunk beds were provided at a later date.

When the prisoners were released in 1997, and the facility was closed, and a reunion was held at Robben Island.  What is pictured here is the limestone quarry where day after day they hammered, chiseled, and chipped at these rocks.  The glare of the sun off of these rocks made some prisoners go blind.  As the group left the quarry, Mandela paused, turned back and placed a single rock in the middle of the workspace.  One by one, each former prisoner picked up a rock and placed it.  This stone monument has come to represent all shapes, colors, and sizes of those who spent time on Robben Island and fought to end Apartheid.

On leaving the island we noticed these walruses basking in the sun on the cement barriers.  (you will have to look closely)

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