Enlightening day at Robben island prison museum with heartbreaking stories recounted of political imprisonment through the darkest years of Apartheid.
The most well known prisoner was of course Nelson Mandela leader of the ANC who spent 18 years of his life here. Even in amongst the tragedy of confinement, oppression and abuse I found a connection to the power of gardens and gardening. In the bleak concrete courtyard of B Section, Mandela and others created a garden in in the 1970’s in which they grew vegetables and fruit. Mandela’s biographer A.Sampson wrote,
‘By late 1975 they had raised 2000 chillis, nearly 1000 tomatoes, a few radishes, onions, sweet melons and two watermelons.’
Nelson Mandela said, “To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it offered a simple yet enduring satisfaction. The sense of being a custodian of this small patch of earth offered a taste of freedom”
The remnants of a shooting vine in the space seemed a fitting symbol for the purpose of this memorial site, to reflect triumph of freedom and human dignity over oppression and humiliation.
#roddenisland #apartheid #gardening #gardens #nelsonmandela #hope #freedom #southafrica #capetown