A historical

2018-11-20 06:00

An exhibition space at Jetty 1, at the V&A Waterfront, is where visitors can embark on a journey to gain more knowledge of Robben Island and South Africa’s political history.

The building is currently used as an exhibition space and depicts an introductory narrative to the layered historical significance of the location as an embarkation point to Robben Island.

According to a statement released by the Robben Island Museum, the exhibition space consists of hand-written visitor registration records – including that of when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela signed in to visit Nelson Mandela whilst he was incarcerated on Robben Island.

“Complete with real-life holding cells and an audio room, this is a compelling way to learn more about Robben Island and experience its full history before and after the political imprisonment period,” the statement reads.

The history of Jetty 1 dates back to 1870, when the entrance to Table Bay Harbour was deepened to 21 feet, allegedly using prisoner labour. Eight years later, in 1878, prisoners from Robben Island were again used to widen Jetty 1.

In 1925 a portion of Jetty 1 was cordoned off for the exclusive use of Robben Island and the building still exists and is situated at the V&A Waterfront “as a valuable landmark in the narrative of Robben Island Museum (RIM)”, the statement says.

During World War II, the Isie was the only vessel that moved between the island and the mainland transporting army staff, prisoners and prisoners of war. Then the “Robben Island” berth was renamed the “Isie Berth”. Official “Robben Island Offices” were constructed on Jetty 1 in 1957.

Until the late 1990s, the building at Jetty 1 retained its original façade of red bricks, wrought iron doors and barbed wire fencing, signifying its identity as a prison building. When the Robben Island Museum opened its doors in 1997, the first tour ferries departed from this embarkation point. Robben Island Museum spokesperson, Morongoa Ramaboa, says guests are encouraged to visit Jetty 1.

V For more information, visit www.­robben-island­.­org.za.

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