A new walking tour offered by the Robben Island Museum is priced at R1 000 for South African adults and R620 for South African children aged 2 to 18 years, while non-South African adults will pay R1 400 and R820 for non-South African children aged 2 to 18. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency
A new walking tour offered by the Robben Island Museum is priced at R1 000 for South African adults and R620 for South African children aged 2 to 18 years, while non-South African adults will pay R1 400 and R820 for non-South African children aged 2 to 18. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

New Robben Island walking tour prices ’exclude locals’

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Jan 14, 2022

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CAPE TOWN -The pricing model for a new walking tour offered by the Robben Island Museum (RIM) is designed to exclude locals and sets to exploit the blood and sweat of former political prisoners.

These are the sentiments voiced by the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council (GKKITC) and the Ex-Political Prisoners Association after RIM introduced the pricing for their new walking tour this week.

The tour is priced at R1 000 for South African adults and R620 for South African children aged two to 18 years, while non-South African adults will pay R1 400 and R820 for non-South African children aged two to 18.

“This new experience covers some sites that were/are not covered by the current standard bus tour. These sites were upgraded during the nationwide lockdown in 2020 and include the Visitors' Centre, the land of banishment and the Robert Sobukwe Complex,” the RIM said.

“This tour is unique because visitors will have an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of those who came before us and contributed significantly to South Africa’s liberation. A close interaction with our experienced tour guides and a return boat trip is also included in the tour, as well as a complimentary Robben Island Museum cap and bottled water.”

GKKITC high commissioner Tauriq Jenkins said the pricing model was “totally inaccessible to local communities”.

“This is egregious. The Island has a deeply significant historical footprint of resistance. From exiled traditional leaders from the Java who resisted the Dutch East India Company, to it being an important precinct of the Khoi.

“Autshumao of the Goringhaicona together with Krotoa were imprisoned there, later too were David Stuurman and Prophet Leader Makhanda, who tragically drowned during his escape.

“These histories have been erased from memory and the role of the Island in preserving and celebrating this histories is absolutely important.

“This Island has a restorative role to play by encouraging descendant communities linked to the Island to embrace our rich national legacy.

“By charging these prohibitive prices, it creates a situation where our history remains imprisoned.

“It’s access becomes an elitist and distinctly tourist oriented commodification of a collective memory that belongs to all South Africans…How are these prices in any way making it easy for people to access these important places?” asked Jenkins.

EPPA secretary-general Mpho Masemola referred to the pricing as “parasitic opportunistic people who are milking Robben Island”.

“They are not ashamed to benefit from our sweat. Heads must roll. We have said it before, that this must come to an end. Our Struggle was not for sale. EPPA are not beneficiaries of the expensive tickets. We have put that in our 10 points (memorandum submitted to RIM). But RIM never responded. The EPPA will have no other choice but to fight this parasitic opportunist who raise prices as they wish.

“Let it also be known that the walking tour that they now introduce was stolen intellectual property. We had made a presentation to RIM where memorial walks was part of the presentation and they were keen on this idea when it was presented. We wanted to dedicate each of those paths used to individual comrades who lead during those epochs. We called on RIM to reduce the ticket sales so that the museum can be accessible to all South Africans,” said Masemola.

RIM had introduced the pricing for the new walking tour as they announced a new ticketing platform service provider from yesterday (January 12).

RIM confirmed that standard tariffs for its other tours remained unchanged and would still cost R400 for South African adults and R210 for South African children aged two to 18 years.

Cape Times

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