Unlike Alcatraz, the prison does not take up most of the space on Robben Island. The prison seemed small in fact. There are four or five sections but they mainly consist of common rooms and showers. 30 people would be sleeping on the floor until beds were introduced in the late 70s. The food and the clothes were different for Bantus (less of either) and Coloreds & Indians.
We were shown the kitchen and the B section which was the section that held the political leaders. They had a small courtyard in each section and there was space for a tennis net. We also saw Mandela’s cell. There were no toilets in the cells, only buckets.
The tour was held by a former inmate. He was at Robben Island prison from 1983 until 1990. The prison was closed down officially in 1991, he came back in 2007 to heal himself with this job.
After the tour we all got on a bus and were shown where Robert Sobukwe was held in solitary confinement. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sobukwe). He had a small house and there was another small hut for when his children visited. After he was released dog kennels were added here, not the type of dogs I would walk.
There is also a huge leper cemetary on Robben Island as this is where the lepers and the mentally ill were held. The mentally ill as well as the prison inmates were working at the limestone quarry, the limestone was used to build the prison.
There are some small houses on the island as people still live here. There is a school with 16 children and two teachers, one of them is also the principal. You can see a small lighthouse as well. The road around the island is 12 km long but as a visitor you don’t get to see the rest. The tour is run precisely at 3 hours including the first boat ride which takes 30 minutes. They sell out every day and every seat is accounted for.