12/11/2013 10:49 EST | Updated 02/10/2014 05:59 EST

A visit to Nelson Mandela's prison on Robben Island

In his tribute to Nelson Mandela, U.S. President Barack Obama said it takes "a man like Madiba not just to free the prisoner but the jailer as well."

Mandela met those jailers on Robben Island, a boat ride from Cape Town, where he spent 18 of his 27 years in captivity.

The CBC's senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault visited Robben Island, where she met former prisoners who now guide tourists around the grim facility.

Arsenault's story paints a vivid picture of the prison's harsh conditions and how its most famous inmate managed to persevere.