South Africa Marks Anniversary of Nelson Mandela's Release

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It's a momentous day for the people of South Africa. 20 years ago former president Nelson Mandela was set free after being jailed for nearly three decades for speaking out against the country's former government that discriminated against blacks in the country.

Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela walked to freedom after almost three decades in prison for opposing an apartheid government.

Today, South Africans re-enact that historic walk - one which set in motion the country's transition to democracy.

A frail 91-year old Mandela did not attend the ceremony at the Drakenstein Prison near Cape Town, where he spent the final months of his 27-year sentence.

Among well-wishers waving the flags of his African National Congress were also fellow 'heroes of the struggle' present on that momentous occasion in 1990.

Cyril Ramaphosa, then a senior mining union and ANC official, said Mandela's walk liberated South Africa.

[Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Executive Committee]:
"We are very proud that we had Nelson Mandela to lead us out of this prison, to lead us into freedom to forge a free nation."

Mandela devoted his life to the fight against white domination and his words were to inspire generations to come.

[Nelson Mandela, Former South African President]:
"We are going forward the march towards freedom and justice is irreversible. Amandla."

South Africans remember that historic day.

[Franki Luzodo, South African]:
"I really remember when I was here and I saw Mandela shouting 'Amandla'. That was the moment I was very excited after long struggling of 27 years in prison—that was very, very sharp."

[...]

Mandela walked into the history books as the man who became South Africa's first black leader and the one who unified the racially divided nation without bloodshed.

He laid the foundations of a strong democracy which 20 years on is facing its biggest challenges as successive post-apartheid governments struggle to tackle inequality, poverty and unemployment.

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