The Democratic Alliance (DA) hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has visited Robben Island. The trip was in line with Kathrada’s vision to invite leaders of opposition parties to the island to learn more about South Africa’s history.
DA’s leader, Mmusi Maimane and his delegation were given a guided tour by former islanders who shared their tales. Robben Island has been described as the most extreme form of incarceration in South Africa.
Ahmed Kathrada believed it was necessary to keep the story of the island and its inmates alive. Maimane and his team had the privilege of being guided by Laloo Chiba, a close friend of Kathrada and a former islander himself as well as Luyanda Mpahlwa, also a former islander and a member of the Robben Island council.
In the lime quarry, Chiba explained how many inmates, including Nelson Mandela, suffered long term damage to their eyes from the glare of the sun on the rock.
Despite the hardships they endured, former islanders shared stories of what they looked forward to. Like the odd visit from a loved one, a letter, and, their very own island olympics, which included sports like chess and table tennis.