About this museum


From the 17th to the 20th centuries, Robben Island served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment. Today it is both a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This triple-story glass museum, designed by renowned the Cape Town architect and urban planner, Lucien le Grange, links the V&A Waterfront with the Robben Island Museum and incorporates the passenger ferry terminal. Also included are various exhibition areas, an auditorium, and museum shop.

What’s on show


Orientation Room:
Video interviews from Ex-Political Prisoners giving the context for the existence of Robben Island as a museum.

Timeline Exhibition:
Window treatment visuals and text panels on the historical timeline of habitation on Robben Island.


Courtyard Exhibition:
Timeline of the 20th Century historical developments happening on and off Robben Island.

Visiting Exhibition on 1st floor:
South-South Exhibition on parallels of experiences on Robben Island and ESMA, a memorial site in Argentina.


Secondary Programme


7:30 – 8:00 +
8:30 - 9:00


ABAVUKI are a powerful African Jazz outfit from Langa, Cape Town and have been playing their infectious afro-beat marimba grooves since 2001. The eight members in the group, all multi-instrumentalists, are influenced by kwaito, samba, jazz and traditional rhythms, which they translate within a modern format, using marimbas, percussion and brass instruments.
The Xhosa name “abavuki” means ‘Wake up, early birds!’ and this attitude is palpable in Abavuki’s high-energy, uplifting music that not only reflects their youth, but their optimistic outlook on life and their approach to music-making.
Their vibrant reinterpretation of marimba music, with overlaid brass instruments, is a funky addition to the genre, and resounds because it is testimony to the resilience of South Africans and the redemption the country has found in music in its path to reconciliation.