South Africa: Replica of Mandela's cell to tour South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – A replica of Nelson Mandela’s infamous Robben Island cell will travel to schools around South Africa to enable youths to see and experience the harrowing conditions the world statesman endured in jail.

Mandela who was South Africa’s first democratically-elected President, spent 18 years of his 27-year jail term in a tiny cell with a mattress on the floor and a view of a communal courtyard where the prisoners crushed rocks.

Despite this adversity, the Nobel Laureate was able to study for his LLB degree from the University of London. Initially classified as the lowest grade of prisoner, Class D, he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months.

The barren island which offers breathtaking views of Cape Town and Table Mountain, acquired its name from the seals that bask on its shores (robben is the Dutch word for seal). It served as a prison and leper colony for 300 years and is now a popular tourist attraction.

Mandela’s old friend and activist Ahmed Kathrada who also spent 18 years incarcerated at the notorious prison, attended the official opening of the mobile replica cell in the township of Mitchells Plain outside Cape Town.

Andrew Mlangeni who spent 26 years on Robben Island (and is now an MP) said he hoped the initiative would show the youth of today “that we weren’t given the freedom on a silver platter”.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the replica of the cell would be travelling to schools across the country to help students “picture a better future than the one we had”.
-0- PANA CU/MA 29Sept2016

28 سبتمبر 2016 08:31:54

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