Robben Island World Heritage Site has important places of memory that include the built fabric, routes and paths, gardens, views and vistas. It has within it many and varied layers of history that are at times contested. Furthermore it is an island of many voices, including the disadvantaged, the oppressed, the sick, the privileged few, the religious, the imprisoned and the free. Its conservation therefore poses unique challenges.
Four main conservation principles underlie the approach to conservation management of RIWHS:
- There is an evolving understanding of Robben Island’s meaning and value which has both tangible and intangible manifestations in cultural and natural contexts;
- Robben Island’s heritage value is both local and universal;
- Robben Island’s heritage value is related to current social debates about, for example, stigma, human rights, reconciliation and healing;
- Robben Island Museum is committed to a conservation-based approach to development and to a transparent use-based, policy-based and process-driven management that seeks to balance the Island’s tangible and intangible heritage resources.