U.S. President Barack Obama and his family toured the Robben Island prison whree Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his 27 years in prison. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
U.S. President Barack Obama and his family visited South Africa's bleak former prison of Robben Island on Sunday to pay tribute to ex-inmate Nelson Mandela, now critically ill in the hospital.
Later Obama cited the legacy of Mandela, who was imprisoned on the windswept island for most of the 27 years he spent in jail before becoming the country's first black president, in a speech at the University of Cape Town.
Current South African President Jacob Zuma was also held at the notorious jail off Cape Town's coast under the apartheid regime, which ended in 1994 with Mandela's election victory.
In sunny weather, the U.S. president flew by helicopter with his family to the island, which is surrounded by the frigid, shark-infested waters of the South Atlantic.
His party drove a short distance to the former prison's lime quarry, where Mandela and other prisoners toiled for years.
Their guide, 83-year-old former inmate and anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, spoke about his time there with Mandela and other African National Congress prisoners.
Obama told his daughters the idea of non-violent resistance, an important tactic in the U.S. civil rights movement, had taken root in South Africa where its chief proponent Mahatma Gandhi worked as a lawyer before returning to India.
After touring the former prison, Obama and his wife Michelle signed a guest book in which Obama wrote: "On behalf of our family we're deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield.
"The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit."
The 94-year-old Mandela's struggle with a lung infection has been a sombre backdrop to Obama's eight-day Africa trip. South Africa says his condition is "critical but stable".
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