“The same [thing] happened when we got to the buses. It was really terrible because we had to pick them up and carry them onto the buses‚ because the bus had no rail. You can imagine that this is my mother-in-law that I have to carry onto the bus.”
Magidi said some of the tourists on the trip assisted them‚ while the driver and a staff member looked on.
“This was happening in full view of all other tourists and so you can imagine the guilt and embarrassment this caused for me and my in-laws.
“If it wasn’t for the one staff member who took pity on us and gave us a tour inside the cells‚ we would have been left with nothing. Imagine paying R350 [each] for six people and getting that kind of service‚” he said.
Magidi said the island needed to improve their wheelchair friendly facilities. He said his mother-in-law felt “very bad” about the situation.
“It was a nightmare‚ to say the least. They are selling a package that is not there. This is ‘Mandela island’ and it’s ridiculous.”
When asked if he would return to Robben Island sometime in the future‚ Magidi replied: “Maybe one day‚ but at this point I am super frustrated by the way they handled things.”
The island museum’s management has apologised for what Magidi and his family had to go through.
“We sincerely apologise for our visitors’ unfortunate experience and we thank them for sharing their valuable feedback.”
Robben Island spokesperson Morongoa Ramaboa said they were in the process of improving access at all their facilities across the entire value chain to ensure that everyone’s experience was equal irrespective of their physical condition.
“As part of our drive towards continuous improvement‚ our staff is trained on service excellence annually. We’re conducting an internal investigation to address the issues raised by the visitor and to see where we fell short‚” Ramaboa said.