Robben Island Museum loses more than 90% of visitors due to Covid-19, cuts bursary funding

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Robben Island (file)
Robben Island (file)
  • After recording a more than 90% drop in visitor numbers during the 2020/2021 holiday season, the Robben Island Museum has suspended its annual bursary fund for the current academic year.
  • The museum announced this in a statement on Friday, attributing the sharp decline in the number of much-needed visitors due to the impact of Covid-19.
  • Over the years, the museum has been funding students studying in the fields of museums and heritage as well as social science and history.


After recording a more than 90% drop in visitor numbers in during 2020/2021 holiday season, the Robben Island Museum (RIM) has suspended its annual bursary fund for the current academic year.

The museum announced this in a statement on Friday, attributing the sharp decline in the number of much-needed visitors due to the impact of Covid-19.

Over the years, the museum has been funding students studying in the fields of museums and heritage as well as social science and history.

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RIM chief financial officer Blayne Crocker said: "Covid-19 and the related economic onslaught have placed us in an unprecedented financial situation, where our most pressing challenge is our short-term sustainability. We will therefore not be considering bursary applications for 2021."

RIM would continue to explore ways to attract visitors, particularly domestic travellers and looked forward to being in a position to fund education in South Africa for the next academic year, said Siphuxolo Mazwi, its senior manager for marketing and tourism.

"We believe that RIM will survive the economic impact of this pandemic that has wreaked havoc in the tourism sector, destroying both lives and livelihoods," Mazwi added.

Crocker said: "Former political prisoners described Robben Island as the 'University of Life', for it is here where strategies for a future society based on tolerance, respect and non-racialism were nurtured. Emphasis was placed on education [academic and political], robust debate and lifelong learning as vital tools in the fight for justice."


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