The Robben Island Museum says it has cancelled its annual bursary programme for 2021 due to financial strain caused by COVID-19. Visitor numbers dropped significantly during the 2020 festive season, compared to the year before.
Steeped in history, Robben Island usually draws thousands of visitors every year. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.
“Robben Island Museum has just come out of the 2020/2021 holiday season with a significant decline in visitor numbers. In fact, the numbers are in excess of 90 percent [down] as compared to previous years,” says the spokesperson for the museum, Melany Kuhn.
The museum says it is unable to sustain its annual bursary fund for this academic year because of revenue losses. The bursaries, worth R33 000 each, were usually awarded to seven students for postgraduate studies in fields such as history and heritage studies.
“Robben Island Museum is however committed to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and we are constantly exploring ways to attract visitors to the island, particularly domestic travellers and we certainly look forward to being in a position to fund education in the 2022 academic year,” says Kuhn.
Currently, there is only one ferry a day that departs from the museum at the V&A Waterfront to the island. The ferry runs every day except on Thursdays. Valentine’s Day weddings on Robben Island cancelled
Earlier this year, weddings on Robben Island on Valentine’s Day were cancelled. This after the Robben Island Museum decided to cancel the prestigious event.
This follows the temporary suspension of applications for IDs, passports and marriage services. The Department of Home Affairs said this was due to an increasing number of staffers testing positive for COVID-19.
The annual Robben Island Valentine’s Day weddings have become a permanent feature during the month of romance for the past 21 years.
Robben Island’s Manager for Infrastructure Girshon Manana says, ” This year would have marked 21 years of celebrating love on the island. Last year 19 couples tied the knot with historic Mr Frankford Williams and his wife Cindi Mullins who are visually impaired officially becoming the first couple in South Africa to receive their marriage certificate in braille.
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