Austil Mathebula
2 minute read
11 Feb 2015
2:39 pm

11 quotes from Mandela’s 1990 release speech

Austil Mathebula

25 years ago today, former president Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in the Western Cape.

FILE PICTURE: Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela and his ex-wife Winnie raise fists upon Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison on February 11, 1990 in Paarl. AFP PHOTO ALEXANDER JOE

He made made his way to City Hall in Cape Town to deliver his iconic speech from the balcony of the building. We summarised his speech in ten quotes:

  1. “Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security.”
  2. “The destruction caused by apartheid on our subcontinent is incalculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed.”
  3. “The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been.”
  4. “I feel duty bound to make a point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference.”
  5. “I reiterate our call for, inter alia, the immediate ending of the State of Emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners.”
  6. “There must be an end to white monopoly on political power.”
  7. “It must be added that Mr [FW] de Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honouring his undertakings.”
  8. “We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts.”
  9. “We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa.”
  10. “We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime.”
  11. “Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voter’s role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

Read more: 11 things about Nelson Mandela’s release 

Listen to the speech below: