Visiting Robben Island in South Africa

South Africa is Robben Island,
South Africa is Robben Island,

 

A past president of the Miami Dade Urban Banker Association, entrepreneur Antonio Junior is involved in a number of Miami-based enterprises including fuel-reclaiming service provider Florida Conservation Inc., consultant service provider Diversified Management International, and social conscious lifestyle concept 7one. Outside of work, Antonio Junior enjoys traveling and one country he has visited is South Africa, a trip taken at the time when Nelson Mandela was president.

A memorable place to visit in South Africa is Robben Island, a rocky outcrop standing roughly 30 meters above sea level across Table Bay from Cape Town. The island was initially inhabited by a diverse range of wildlife such as seals, penguins, and birds. It is well known as the place where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in incarceration when a maximum security prison for South Africa’s political prisoners was operated there.

What is not widely known is that it began as a place of incarceration 350 years ago when a member of a now extinct indigenous group was banished there by colonial settlers. The island has also been used as a grazing ground and been home to an outpost, a mental hospital, and a post office.

There is a three and a half hour tour of the museum on Robben Island which starts in Cape Town, followed by a 30 minute ferry ride to the island. Most often, former political prisoners guide visitors around the prison facility sharing personal experiences of their time spent there. Mandela’s cell can be seen, which is about seven feet square. A 45 minute bus tour around the island showcases its historic locations including the mental hospital, leper colony, and military base.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is a symbol of hope, justice, and self-sacrifice.

Nelson Mandela’s Election

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

 

Miami entrepreneur Antonio Junior is a businessman who has used his leadership skills to bring organizations success and recognition. When he is not engaged in professional activities in Miami, Antonio Junior enjoys traveling around the world. He had the privilege of traveling to South Africa at the time Nelson Mandela became the nation’s first black president.

After nearly three centuries of apartheid in South Africa, legendary leader Nelson Mandela was sworn into office on May 10, 1994 in Pretoria, South Africa. The inauguration marked a historic shift from minority rule in the nation and was attended by politicians and dignitaries from 140 countries.

Leading up to the momentous shift in South Africa’s culture, Mandela worked closely with President F.W. de Klerk to move toward the country’s first nonracial democratic elections. As a result of their collaboration and efforts, the two men received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. After becoming president, Mandela named de Klerk deputy to the president.

The Mandela administration addressed numerous problems that existed in South Africa, including socioeconomic discrepancies, poverty, and a lack of social services. In 1996, a new constitution that sought to establish equal rights to all minorities was signed into law.