Aside from the historical sites, artefacts and exhibits that can be experienced on the Island, Robben Island Museum has installed a number of long-term exhibits at its mainland sites. These are open to the public and free of charge.
Jetty 1The Jetty 1 site was the historical departure point to Robben Island. The multimedia interactive exhibitions installed in the historic Jetty 1 building convey the stories and memories of individuals who went through that space. Included in the exhibition are accounts of ex-political prisoners, ex-prison warders and the families of prisoners and warders.
Nelson Mandela Gateway
Multimedia exhibitionsThese exhibitions showcase the collections housed at the RIM-UWC Mayibuye Archives. These include posters on individual and collective struggles in Southern Africa, Radio Freedom recordings, and the Tim Jenkings artefacts display.
Time Line ExhibitionThis installation presents an informative pictorial chronology and multilayered history of Robben Island from pre-colonial times to the democratic South Africa.
The Robert Sobukwe Travelling Exhibition
The Robben Island Museum’s Robert Sobukwe: A Son of the Soil of Africa Exhibition commemorates the 40th anniversary of Robert Sobukwe’s his release from Robben in April 1969 and honours his contribution towards the struggle for democracy in South Africa.
The Apartheid state detained Robert Sobukwe on Robben Island under the Sobukwe Clause, especially written into the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 as amended by the General Law Amendment Bill that was passed by Parliament in 1963.
He spent six endless years of isolation on the same site, barred from even taking a walk on the tantalising beach close by. Unable to converse with loved ones on a daily basis, deprived of support and solidarity shared by other political prisoners on the Island. Robert Sobukwe endured six years of profound loneliness.
Ultimately it affected his powers of concentration and temporarily, even his ability to speak.
But Sobukwe was a man of deep inner resources. His spiritual growth intensified, extensive reading broadened his thinking and his integrity remained intact. Each year he rose above the pain and uncertainty of whether the Sobukwe Clause would be renewed or cancelled.
Sobukwe’s ordeal did not end upon his release. He was banished to Kimberley, not his hometown, and placed under stringent house arrest. Despite these difficulties, he trained as a lawyer and practised in Galeshewe, Kimberley. Robert Sobukwe died of lung cancer on 27 February 1978, still under house arrest.
View this exhibition to discover aspects of Robert Sobukwe’s life; the roots of Pan Africanism and Sobukwe’s abiding interest in it and his years of isolation on Robben Island. Be inspired as you explore this exhibition that reveals a true son of the soil and a still brightly shining star of Africa.