Saturday, April 17, 2010

robben island and the townships

today we learned about aparteid (segregation) and the hardships the poor have in capetown..we went on a boat early this morning to robben has been a prison for hundreds of years...but most famous for being the prison that nelson mandela was's not to far from can see the city from there...the life the prisoners lived was terrible...they worked in a lime pit...digging out the lime...for hours and hours...many of them went blind from the glare...they had cells that were about 5 by 7 feet...tiny places...they could only lay on the mats at night..not during the day...and these political prisoners were there for years and years...mandela was in prison for 27 years...unreal! after a lunch by the docks we went on a tour of the city...but more a inner city tour...we went to see some beautifully painted houses, a nice area of town...then went to district area that people were moved out of so that the whites could live there...they were just reassigned places to live in townships...we went to the distrct 6 museum which showed how people tried to find each other by leaving messages for each other...then, we drove to the townships..there are 11 in capetown...not a pretty sight...some have little tiny houses, there are also apartments, and shacks made of running water or toilets in some...we walked around, the little children are very cute and were after russ.....we then were invited to go up to one of the apartments...unreal! it's a main common room and has about 4 each bedroom they 'rent' their each room there are 3 beds...2 couples in each bed, kids sleep on the they have a tiny stove in the room...there were 16 families living in this apartment! hard to believe! we then drove around to some other townships..some were single family very small 2 bedroom homes...others were the tin shacks...we were told that you can order one of these shacks, it can be built in a day for 1000 rand...thats about $142.00! the nice ones had doors on them, one had curtains, most had no doors or windows.. it's a different life and makes me grateful for the one i have...tomorrow we leave to start our safari! that should be exciting!
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