Light at the End of the Tunnel

 Posted by on May 31, 2015  Add comments
May 312015
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This is the corridor of B Block in the Robben Island maximum security prison.

We took the boat out from Capetown and did the prison tour.

The cell where Nelson Mandela spent the major part of his 27 years in prison is second from the end on the left of the picture. It is impossible to stand in the cell and not feel the presence of something bigger than us all.

Tours of the prison are led by ex-inmates and the man who took us gave us a very vivid sense of what went on in this place. He spoke most powerfully of the political meetings that were held and the discussions during the drafting of documents that led to the current South African Constitution and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The documents, signed by Mandela and others, are on display.

To me the prison seemed to represent both a low and a high point in African history.

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  6 Responses to “Light at the End of the Tunnel”

  1. What can one say except that this is a superbly made image which gives so much emotion to what went on in Africa in the late 20th century. You definitely are a photographic gatherer with a marvellous imagination to create the end result. I watched you make that photo of Mandela’s head (I think) and you have put it in just the right setting. I really am unable to say more here.

    • Thanks Barbara, and yes it is the “statue and the flag” picture. I really like that image as well but it just seemed to fit here….

  2. Ian, I love this image. It is a great homage to a great man. I am glad you felt the presence bigger than us all. I too was deeply touched by what those men did under the toughest of circumstances. Those years were formative for so many people in so many ways, including me. As you will recall, when we went to Soweto and Constitution Hill we were all moved by what Mandela and his cohorts did to ensure a a constitution to be proud of, and the envy of the world. We were in Soweto the day after Mugabe said there was no place for “white people” in Africa and the week the Rhodes statue was removed from Lion’s head, above my old university in Cape Town. I don’t believe Mandela and his close cohorts would have approved of, or allowed such actions and I don’t believe that these actions are supported by the SA constitution, which recognises the whole history of SA and seeks for equal treatment of all people, irrespective of race or creed so that history in the making can be different. You played the “Last Post” for us on ANZAC day, that reminds us, 100 years later, about the hard fought freedom many died for, unfortunately there is no equivalent in SA. I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel …..

    • There was a light at the end of the tunnel – but there are now more tunnels to pass….

      I found it sad that everyone in SA, who can, has an exit strategy. That said, and perhaps its just the optimist in me, I believe that the thinking that those like Mugabe bring will not win. Mugabe has not built a prosperous nation and his people leave to go to SA. You are right that ANZAC day is a powerful foundation for our country, but in reality a failed military campaign pales in comparison to the truth and reconciliation commission and the SA constitution. With a foundation that strong a good SA will prevail. There are just a few swings of the pendulum to go…..

  3. Very powerful image Ian.

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