Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, north of Cape Town, South Africa. It was fortified and used as a prison from the late 17th century to 1996, after the end of apartheid. Many of its prisoners were political.
Political activist Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid and expansion of the franchise to all residents of the country. He was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and was elected in 1994 as President of South Africa, serving one term. In addition, two other former inmates of Robben Island have been elected as President of South Africa since the late 1990s: Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.
Robben Island is a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.