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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Air Date: Week of


CURWOOD: One of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa these days is a prison. And when a guide suggested to our group that it might be a cool place to go, we were curious. So we went down to the waterfront of Cape Town, and out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela, the father of modern South Africa, was held for many of his 26 years of detention by the apartheid government. Our guide, a former political prisoner, showed us the tiny cell that had held Nelson Mandela. He told us that for many years, prisoners had slept on the concrete floors. He spoke of the brutal torture by the guards during his 16-year imprisonment. So, we asked, what did you do when the African National Congress came to power? You were free and these guards were now at your mercy. He paused and then said, "We talked a lot about it. We had suffered a lot. But we decided to do nothing.”

Today, former political prisoners and their former guards live side-by-side on Robben Island, part of the new South Africa that is dedicated to reconciliation, at a time when much of the world is divided. Thanks to Heritage Africa, you too can travel to South Africa and see peace and reconciliation at work. Living on Earth is giving away a 15-day trip for two on the ultimate African safari, with visits to several of the continent's most spectacular wildlife enclaves, such as Kruger and the Serengeti. Please go to our website, livingonearth.org, for more details about how to win this 15-day trip to see some of Africa's most spectacular sites. That's livingonearth.org.


ANNOUNCER: Funding for Living on Earth comes from the World Media Foundation Environmental Information Fund. Major contributors include the Town Creek Foundation, and the Wellborn Ecology Fund. Support also comes from NPR member stations, and the Noyce Foundation, dedicated to improving math and science instruction from kindergarten through Grade 12. And Bob Williams and Meg Caldwell, honoring NPR's coverage of environmental and natural resource issues, and in support of the NPR President's Council.



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