chapter  6
Migration histories, the past, and the politics of memory at Robben Island Museum
ByUGOCHUKWU-SMOOTH C. NZEWI
Pages 16

The Robben Island Museum (RIM) seeks to fulfill its mandate as a World Heritage Site with a long and complex history. Now globally imagined as a symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity,” it relies heavily on the charisma and credibility of the late Nelson Mandela, well respected for his forgiving spirit after spending twenty-seven years as a political prisoner, eighteen of those years on Robben Island during apartheid. In South Africa, RIM represents the defeat of apartheid and the victory of participatory democracy; it is closely tied to the politics of remembrance of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party. This public perception of Robben Island is accepted by a broad section of the South African community. The ANC has held power since 1994, when majority rule was formally established in South Africa following the end of whiteminority rule typified by the National Party and its segregationist policies.