Next Monday, South Africa will mark 21 years of democracy on national Freedom Day. And to honour the occasion and the heroes who made the day possible, Google has teamed up with the Robben Island Museum and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to offer a virtual tour and history lesson on the famous Robben Island.

On the Robben Island Google Cultural Institute portal, you can view maps, photos, take a Street View or video tours led by ex-prisoner Vusumsi Mcongo, and read up on the history of the former apartheid era prison where struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Robert Sobukwe spent years behind bars.

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Noteworthy content includes photos of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell from back when he was incarcerated up until present day, the former prison-turned-museum’s historical artifacts and the house where Robert Sobukwe was sentenced to solitary confinement in during the 70s as well actual notes from one of his personal journals.

“In the new online exhibitions on the Cultural Institute platform, you can also listen to prisoners’ personal anecdotes about life at this infamous prison, including memories of where they were forced to work as well as how they studied and came together to create a unified vision for freedom in South Africa,” Google said in a blog post.

“Once a symbol of the oppressive Apartheid regime, Robben Island is now a memorial and a reminder of the human spirit’s irrepressible search for freedom. We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to explore and be inspired by the island’s story of hope and humanity.”

[Source – Google Blog, Images – Google Cultural Institute]