Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, 18 September


After a brisk morning walk, with just a bit of r4ain and breakfast, we boarded the bus and went to the docks. The crossing to Robbin Island was a bit rough but we all handled it well. We were met by a former prisoner, who gave us a tour of the prison area. He told of the many deprivations suffered by the political and criminal prisoners there over the years, particularly during the apartheid period. Blacks were treated especially badly. He also told us of the "each one, teach one" system the political prisoners had adopted to improve the level of education among prisoners, many of whom had little or no education. Eventually it was possibnle for many of them to obtain university degrees. We saw Nelson Mandela's cell, where he lived for 18 years before being moved to another prison. Then we boarded a bus and were driven around the island seeing the old church, lepers' cemetery, WWII buildings and defences, and native flora (arum lilies, fynbos ) and fauna ( African penguins, birds ). Back in Cape Town we dispersed for lunch and a restful afternoon.
It was interesting on the way back on the ferry we were introduced to one of the guides who was a prison guard at the time that Nelson Mandela was there. He befriended Mandela and helped him in many was and they developed an enduring relationship to the point that when Mandela went into parliament and became Prime Minister he joined him as part of the office staff and is currently writing a book about his experiences. It is to be published next year. He had many interesting anecdotes to tell.
Our evening meal was athe lovely Baia Restauant in the V&A Waterfront area. It was sumptious meal and the waiters were attentive and friendly.
Some other Canadians who were eating there stopped by for a chat and commented on how much fun we seemed to be having. We thought our waiter ( or waitron as they are known here ) looked like a younger Barak Obama ( you be the judge - Larry posted his picture ).
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