About the book:
Robben Island – best known as the maximum-security prison where former South African president Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years – has been a place of harshness and brutality, but also a place of love, suffering and triumph.
This new, extensively updated edition of Robben Island details the island’s political and social history as a mail-station; a place of exile for adulterers, thieves, lepers, political dissidents and local chiefs; and a coastal defence station during World War II.
Also presented are absorbing accounts of the deprivation and cruelty experienced by the political prisoners banished there during the height of apartheid in the 1960s and 1970s. The deep bonds they forged with each other and even their warders helped to lay the foundation for a future democratic culture in South Africa.
The island is also famous for its environmental riches and abundant marine life, though the shipwrecks strewn along its shores are testament to its treacherous coastline.
More than just a geographical location or a tourist attraction, Robben Island is a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder of the universal desire for freedom. Sobering and uplifting, informative and illuminating, Robben Island is an essential read for anyone interested in South Africa's turbulent journey to democracy.