A trip to Robben Island
We all love a good, long vacation. So, if I were a betting person (I am absolutely a betting person), I would guess that you would be rather pleased if I said you were going to spend the next 18 years on this island pictured above.
You would probably close your eyes and imagine yourself lounging among freshly cleaned, plush accommodations, munching on the catch of the day and a tropical assortment of pineapples, papayas, and melons, all while sipping on that Piña Colada straight from the coconut itself (straw obviously included). You would probably imagine yourself surrounded by your loved ones, adventurously exploring the island some days and peaceful relaxing in a place of solitude on others. You would probably think of this island as a temporary escape, a place you are able to travel to on your own accord while simultaneously remaining in contact with others, updating yourself on the current events of the world. You would probably think you had it made, right?
Well, erase those luxurious images from your head (sorry), and imagine this…
Depending on the colour of your skin, it decided what you were given to eat. But, if you stepped out of line, you could forget about food altogether (definitely no straws included).
If you were to take any sort of “adventure,” it would be strictly for punishment in “No Man’s Land”:
On this island, your name is irrelevant. Instead, you are nothing more than a number. You are diminished to a meager scrap of paper referred to as a “Stupid Pass”.
Want to travel without it in your possession? Forget about it. If you are caught without this permit or dare to travel more than a yard outside of its pre-determined boundaries, have fun in “No Man’s Land.”
This island sucks, right? You probably want to call a friend or family member now to complain about it. Maybe even find the person in charge to ask for the first trip out? Well, you might have to wait a little while for that conversation. On this island, you are only permitted two visits per year. Each visit is forbidden from surpassing a half an hour in time. During these visits you are heavily guarded and told which of two languages you are going to speak. Don’t speak either of those languages? Enjoy a highly impersonal half-hour of silence with your bi-annual visitor.
The island doesn’t sound so appealing anymore, now does it? Well, this was what life was designed to be like for Nelson Mandela and the hundreds of other prisoners on Robben Island.
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