After the brain imaging center we went to the Trauma Center for Survivors of Violence and Torture. This was an incredible place for all of us to visit and impacted everyone. Historically this was the place where freedom fighters were rehabilitated after being tortured. This was also the place where their families stayed when they were going to visit them at Robben Island. Winnie Mandela stayed there many times when she was visiting Nelson Mandela. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was instrumental in the establishment of this center, and ensuring it continued operation after the struggle for freedom. The center now still works with political prisoners, and has expanded ther work to domestic as well as sexual trauma survivors. We met with some of the therapists and counselors at the center, and they are the most increhble women. Many of them are torture survivors themselves, from working as freedom fighters and now they are helping others recover from similar traumas. The center really put themselves out in the community trying to combat sexual and domestic torture and trauma. It was a really impactful visit for everyone, and we are in awe of the strength of that center.
After the center we went to Robben Island. We took a ferry out to the Islad and then go a tour of the island. We saw the mini prison set up for Robert Subukwe. He was placed in a isolate prison on the island because the apartheid government saw him as the most dangerous man, as the founder do the ANC and wanted to isolate him. He was known as the loneliest man on Robben Island. We also saw the lime quarry where the prisoners, like Nelson Mandela, were subjected to hard labor for 13 years. We also saw a cave in the quarry where the prisoners would meet. Our tour guide said that South Africa's first parliamentary meetings were there, and that's such an incredible thing. We then go a tour of the inside of the prison. Our tour guide was a former political prisoner who had been imprisoned on Robben Island personally, for all of us having him as a tour guide was the most powerful experience. We saw the census office where their letters were censored as well as the courtyard where Mandela buried the manuscript to Long Walk to Freedom. We also saw Mandela's cell, which was extremely powerful. Our guide ended the tour by telling us his story of his role in the freedom struggle and why he was imprisoned at Robben Island. There is really nothing more forceful then hearing a story of life in Robben Island and the struggle for freedom while sitting in Robben Island.