Robben Island & Maitland Garden Village

Alexander Paone
April 30, 2013

Last Saturday we had our IES trip to Robben Island. We took a short ferry from the Waterfront to the island where we got on a bus tour around the island.

On the ferry from Cape Town’s Waterfront to Robben Island.

It surprised me that people actually still live on the island. Many of them were former prisoners on the island, like our guide, who works in tourism now. One thing I did not realize about the island that it was also once a leper colony, and there were specific areas and buildings on the island that were once allocated to the lepers.


Robben Island Prison

The highlight of the tour was the prison tour with our ex-prisoner guide. He brought us into the huge rooms that were shared by 30 prisoners, as well as the solitary cells where we were able to read the accounts and stories of the prisoners who stayed there. The most famous cell was obviously Nelson Mandela’s cell where he spent his 18 years on Robben Island.

Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island.


Maitland Garden Village Science Day 

Maitland Garden Village is one of the villages we have done some research at for the IES Eco-Justice class. It is a small, close-knit neighborhood not far from where we live in Rosebank. Although I did my my research in the Egoli informal settlement, some of my classmates decided to stay in Maitland Garden Village (MGV).

Everyone together in Maitland Garden Village for a day of science and fun.

Anna has been visiting MGV frequently, and decided to plan a sort of science fair for the kids in the village. The whole day was organized by Anna without any assistance from IES or our professors, and she gathered a group of about twelve of us to go with her. She planned a bunch of activities and games and related them all back to science and environmental responsibility.

TJ showing students of Maitland Garden Village how to use a solar cooker.

The last “activity” was the most anticipated. We bought tons of coke and mentos, and you can imagine what happened next.

TJ and Jenny setting off some coke and mentos in Maitland Garden Village.

It was an inspiring day, not only to see how much fun all the kids were having, but also to see Anna’s vision of a fun science-filled day come to life.

Celebrating my 22nd with my South African family!


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Alexander Paone

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alex Paone is a junior at the University of Vermont, majoring in Anthropology and double-minoring in African Studies and Geography. He enjoys photography, cooking, hiking and has a passion for travel. Alex is looking forward to calling Cape Town home and also exploring more of Africa beyond Cape Town and South Africa.</span></p>

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