Theresa May is shown the Robben Island cell where Nelson Mandela was held captive for nearly two decades
- Theresa May has visited the Robben Island cell where Nelson Mandela was held
- The PM was granted the privilege of going inside the cell to view the conditions
- Visit came as Mrs May was in Cape Town as part of a three-day tour of Africa
Theresa May today visited the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive for nearly two decades.
The Prime Minister received a guided tour and was handed a key to open the cell of the man who went on to become South African president.
After viewing the conditions first hand, Mrs May signed the guestbook, writing: ‘It has been a privilege to visit in this year – the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
The Prime Minister today received a guided tour and was handed a key to open the cell (pictured) of the man who went on to become South African president
Nelson Mandela (pictured) was held prisoner on Robben island for nearly two decades
‘His legacy lives on in the hopes and dreams of young people here in South Africa and around the world.’
But earlier Mrs May had faced awkward questions on her record campaigning for Nelson Mandela’s release in the Seventies and Eighties.
The Prime Minister was repeatedly asked what she did to campaign for Mr Mandela’s freedom during the apartheid era.
Mrs May was asked by Channel 4 News whether she felt ‘guilty’ for not doing more at the time, as she prepared to visit Robben Island.
Mrs May, who is in South Africa as part of a three-day trade mission to the continent, responded: ‘What I will be feeling when I go to Robben Island is to recognise the immense statesmanship of a man who spent so many years incarcerated and when he came out of that incarceration had that breadth of vision and that calm approach that has enabled South Africa to be built into the country that it is today.’
Before the visit (pictured), Mrs May had faced awkward questions on her record campaigning for Nelson Mandela’s release in the Seventies and Eighties
Asked if she went on any protests at the time, she said: ‘I think you know full well that I didn’t go on protests.
‘But what is important is the work that the United Kingdom government did to ensure that it was able to give support where that support was needed.
She added: ‘What is important was the support that the UK government was giving at the time. Often support behind the scenes, but in other ways too, to ensure that we saw the result that we did in relation to the ending of Apartheid.’