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Last Updated: Thursday January 07 2010 11:19 GMT

Ore visits Cape Town and Robben Island

Ore in South Africa

The year 2010 is going to be a pretty big one for South Africa, with the eyes of the sporting world on the country for the football World Cup.

The tournament kicks off in June, so to get an idea of how preparations are going across the country, Newsround has sent Ore to South Africa to find out more about the country.

"You have to do plenty of research and planning before a trip like this to South Africa, but there are some things you just can't prepare yourself for.

One of those things was seeing what an amazing city Cape Town is. It was helped by the 30 degree heat and clear blue skies that greeted us, but it's definitely one of the nicest I've ever been to.

Table Mountain dominates the city's landscape and it has some beautiful beaches and a really lively harbour. I'm so glad to have got the chance to visit.

Robben Island prison
Robben Island prison

The reason behind Newsround's visit to Cape Town was to get to Robben Island which, up until the early 1990s, was a high-security prison.


It might sound unbelievable, but for decades South Africa was a country that forced black and white people to live completely different lives. This was called apartheid

Black people weren't allowed to vote, and most of them lived in poverty - you'll find out more about it in the Newsround South Africa Special on Friday 8 January.

People who tried to go against the government and apartheid were sent to the prison on Robben Island.

One of those people was former South African president Nelson Mandela. He was locked up there for 27 years.

The cells aren't much bigger than a toilet cubicle and as former inmate Thulani was telling me, life there was really hard.

But he explained how a man like Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to all the prisoners on Robben Island.

I found it really difficult seeing the conditions people had to live in for such a long time in history just because of their race.

Back in Johannesburg, I met 11 year-old Dumisani. He lives in an area called Soweto, but like many of the areas surrounding South Africa's big cities, the people have to make do with the bare minimum - small shack-like houses, no running water and very little food. The poor conditions mean that disease can spread.

Dumisani and his mum
Dumisani and his mum

As an only child, Dumisani is the only one to look after his sick mother. She only has one lung and has to use an oxygen pump to survive. Dumisani told me that as hard as life is, one day he wants to be a lawyer or a doctor.

But there are some projects out there that help kids like Dumisani. I joined one called Starfish for the day. They go around the country offering food parcels to take home as well as giving them activities to do during the day.

Charities like this give the kids hope that they can achieve something. Someone like Dumisani has high hopes and I hope that one day he can reach those goals."