Sunday, February 26, 2012

ROBBENS ISLAND

I was astounded to learn that there is a large gay community in Capetown.  I had expected it to be very conservative.  Homosexuality is illegal in East Africa.

There is a two week gay festival every year in Capetown.   I and some of the other volunteers went to the Gay Pride Pageant .  It was mainly a lot of transvestites in a beauty pageant modeling bathing suits, fancy clothes, play clothes, etc.  There were both "male" and "female" contestants, but all were male.  There were also some good dancers and a talented, cross dressing emcee in a beautiful, flowing white gown.

Waterfront

Waterfront

Waterfront

Robbens Island prison

Nelson Mandela's cell

Penguins

Table Mountain from Robbens Island

Fellow volunteers May from Egypt, Sara from the US, Tabitha from Germany,  Chun from Australia, and me

Robbens Island lighthouse


The venue was at the Waterfront, a very built up, touristy area with an aquarium, hotels, shopping centers, boat tours, etc.  That afternoon, some of us took a boat 1/2 hour to Robbens Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 26 years in prison.  Our tour guide was a man who had actually been imprisoned there.  He was arrested but held without charges for 8 months then sentenced to 15 years for "political acts."  He told us Mandela took care of a garden in the corner of the walled prison yard and buried his manuscript there.  It was found, but he had a copy and it was smuggled out behind the pages of a friend's photo book.  We also had a bus tour around the island and saw penguins, cannons from World War II, and the old leper colony site.