Robben Island

 
Western Cape Province
S33 47 60 E18 22 0
Date of Inscription: 1999
Criteria: (iii)(vi)
Property : 475 ha
Ref: 916
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Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th and 20th centuries as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups and a military base. Its buildings, particularly those of the late 20th century such as the maximum security prison for political prisoners, witness the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism.

Robben Island was used at various times between the 17th century and the 20th century as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups, and a military base. Its buildings, and in particular those of the late 20th century maximum security prison for political prisoners, testify to the way in which democracy and freedom triumphed over oppression and racism.

What survives from its episodic history are 17th century quarries, the tomb of Hadije Kramat who died in 1755, 19th century ‘village’ administrative buildings including a chapel and parsonage, small lighthouse, the lepers’ church, the only remains of a leper colony, derelict World War II military structures around the harbour and the stark and functional maximum security prison of the Apartheid period began in the 1960s.

The symbolic value of Robben Island lies in its somber history, as a prison and a hospital for unfortunates who were sequestered as being socially undesirable. This came to an end in the 1990s when the inhuman Apartheid regime was rejected by the South African people and the political prisoners who had been incarcerated on the Island received their freedom after many years.

Criterion (iii): The buildings of Robben Island bear eloquent witness to its sombre history.

Criterion (vi):Robben Island and its prison buildings symbolize the triumph of the human spirit, of freedom and of democracy over oppression.

 

Suggested Bases:

Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad, Xhosa: iKapa) is the second most populous city in South Africa. The capital of Western Cape Province, it is also the legislative capital of the nation. Cape Town is on South Africa’s southwestern coast close to the Cape of Good Hope, and is the southernmost city on the African continent. It is the gateway to the globally renowned Cape Winelands which includes the towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Cape Town is nicknamed the Mother City within South Africa. Compared to the more business oriented Johannesburg it is known for its relaxed and leisurely atmosphere. Some jokingly claim that the reason it is called the Mother City is that it takes at least 9 months to get anything done in Cape Town! Compared to other parts of South Africa Cape Town is also distinctly more “western”, and South Africans from other provinces sometimes jokingly say they are traveling to Europe when visiting Cape Town [read more].

Paarl is the third-oldest town in South Africa and is approximately 60 km to the north-west of Cape Town. It is famous for having one of the world’s largest rock outcrops. The easiest way to get there from Cape Town is by car is to follow the N1 North. Travel time is from 45 minutes up to an hour depending on traffic. See Afrikaans Language Monument. Unveiled in October 1975. The main 57-m column symbolises the Afrikaans language while the other columns, domes and walls represents the contribution of the European, indigenous African and Malay languages that have contributed to the development of Afrikaans. There is a restaurant at the monument and the elevated location of the monument provides good views over the Paarl Valley. Afrikaans Language Museum. Explores the origins of the Afrikaans language. Discover how Afrikaans’ development was influenced by Dutch, Malay-Portuguese, French, German, English, Arabic and the indigenous Khoi and African languages [read more]

Worcester is a city in the Cape Winelands. It is the largest town in the Western Cape’s interior region, it serves as the hub of the Western Cape’s interior commercial, distribution and retail activity with a shopping mall, well-developed central business district and infrastructure. The town is the administrative capital of the Breede Valley Local Municipality and the regional headquarters for most central and Provincial Government Departments. Geographically, the district is delimited mainly by mountains; to the southwest lies the massive Stettyns mountain range with an annual rainfall in excess of 2000 mm. To the west lie the Du Toitskloof Mountains and northwest lies the Slanghoek, Little Drakenstein, Elandskloof and Lemiet mountain ranges. To the north rises the Hex River Mountains which include the towering peaks of Chavonness, Brandwacht, Fonteintjiesberg and Audensberg. Northeast of the town the colourful Keerom Mountain runs into the Langeberg range. Worcester and its surroundings form part of the Breede River catchment area, which is fed by a number of smaller rivers supplemented by the run-off from the winter snows in the mountains [read more].

 

 

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