Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for “seal island.”
Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.08 km2. It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event.
Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid.
To date, three former inmates of Robben Island have gone on to become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe, and former president Jacob Zuma.
Robben Island is a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.