January 11th 1990, I, along with millions of other people watched the release of Nelson Mandela from Robben Island. He had served 27 years of his prison term.
Past South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era. Among those political prisoners was current South African President Jacob Zuma who was imprisoned there for ten years.
The day was perfect, hot and seamless. No wind and a clear sky and our mode of transport was a fast ferry that could carry 5 bus loads of visitors at a time.
Photos were taken in front of life size stark images on fences.
This image is the entrance to the notorious 'quarry' where the prisoners worked breaking rocks. On a visit to the Island after his realease President Mandela broke away from the crowd an picked up a single rock and place it in this position. It symbolized the existence of a prisoner.
Others people did the same and this pile of rocks is testament to those who slaved, died and studied in this quarry.
There is a cave in the sandstone. A small cave where the inmates would take their meal. It provided shelter from the sun and wind, many an inmate continued their education whilst sharing food with their esteemed peers.
Our guide, an ex prisoner, shared his story with us. I didn't catch his name, his voice and presence were strong and passionate, his demeanor continued the fight for freedom as he led us around the compound.
She handed me a bracelet from her wrist. She said she noticed I wore a number of bracelets and would like to give me one that she had made..
It made my day.
The gift of a stranger