• Paul Coleman

My Walk through South Africa began from Nelson Mandela's Prison Cell


Minister Ronnie Kasrils, Paul Coleman and Cape Town Councillor,Brian Watson, inside Nelson Mandela's Robben Island Prison cell
With Minister Ronnie Kasrils, and Cape Town Councillor,Brian Watson, inside Nelson Mandela's Robben Island Prison Cell

Thanks to Ronnie Kasrils, the South African Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, I was given the privilege of starting my walk through South Africa from inside Nelson Mandela's prison cell.

Earthwalker Paul Coleman signing the Robben Island Guest Book, with SA Minister Ronnie Kasrils (seated) and Councillor Brian Watson.
Signing the Robben Island Guest Book, with SA Minister Ronnie Kasrils (seated) and Councillor Brian Watson.

Outside I signed the official guest book, usually reserved for visiting dignitaries, like President Bill Clinton, whose autographed page was pointed out, then planted a tree with Minister Kasrils and two members of Parliament who had spent many torturous years in the prison with Nelson Mandela.

Earthwalker Paul Coleman: Robben Island Maximum Security Prison is now a Memorial and Museum
Robben Island Maximum Security Prison is now a Memorial and Museum

These two MP's, visiting the island for the first time since their release, came with me on the boat and, when we arrived took me by the hand as we all stepped on shore. The fact that my visit had inspired them to return to such a place was very humbling and enabled me to better understand the qualities of the people who led the movement to end the horrendous system of Apartheid that had brought so much pain and suffering to the land.

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