To start off the visit to Robben Island, helped me grasp a new understanding on what it was like to be a prisoner there. The first part of the tour on the bus, I never new the other details about Robben Island, I knew it as a place where political prisoners were sent to. I didn’t know it was were people with leprosy and other mental illnesses were went to. This shows how important it is for historic places like Robben Island is because it gives the ability to learn new facts that might not be discussed in a class room. The second part of the tour, was an inspiration and an important aspect to gaining a positive experience out of it. I believe by having a tour guide who has experienced being a prisoner is more affective because it provides a different understand through a new level of respect. One thing I thought about was, just like the holocaust when the survivors are all gone who is left to tell the story; what will happen when there are no more prisoners to volunteer to tell their story? Being able to visit robben island, hearing the stories and history of the island as a whole was a once in a life time experience. It is an experience that I can happily say I was apart of and I am able to tell a story of my journey and what I have learned.
At first I thought going to the Slave Lodge was going to be just like any other experience I have had at museums. However once I walked in and started reading the facts about the building and the history of it, I realized this is something that tells a different story. while walking through something that stuck with me the most, was the room with names and the images of the slaves. It was so interesting how their sir name was given to them based off the month they came. It was surprising to me because after taking courses about slavery and about apartheid history, I haven’t learned about the way they received their sir name. Over all, being able to take our time and own space to walk through the museum made me think more deeply and reflect to myself about the day and connecting it with what I was experiencing in the moment.
“All around us everyday, we experience the echoes of cultures from Asia and Africa – and the fruits of the labour of the enslaved people. This great contribution of so many men and women, our ancestors, has for too long been blotted out by over by over- amplified colonial narratives.” (Patric Tariq Mellet, 2005)