• Humanitarian

    Fighting for the poor
  • Humanitarian

    Fighting for the poor
  • History

    Looking back on a long tradition
  • Ecumenical

    Bringing Christians together

The Island – now a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - has become a popular destination with global tourists. It is managed by Robben Island Museum (RIM); which operates the site as a living museum.

The Grand Bailiwick of South Africa has a long association with Robben Island and especially its former leper colony, the leper hospital and cemetery.

A small group from the Western Cape Commandery along with the Grand Bailiff and her son recently held a short but extremely meaningful service in the Church of the
Good Shepherd – known colloquially as the ‘Leper Chapel’ – and this took the form of a rededication to our vows as Hospitallers and Members of the Order.

The short sermon focussed on the modern role of Lazarites for ‘the lepers in our society’ – those that are marginalised due to circumstances of extreme economic deprivation, neglect and society that passes by on the other side.

This simple but emblematic church – built by lepers and from local stone quarried nearby - is owned and maintained by the Church of England in South Africa and is the only privately owned parcel of land on the Island. Special permission was given by the Dean of the Diocese of Cape Town.

Our small group was then given a conducted tour of historically relevant parts of Robben Island, including the now infamous high security cells.


A wall plaque on the North wall denotes the Grand Bailiwick’s historic association with Robben Island’s Leper Chapel.

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