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On this day: Nelson Mandela gets released from prison

JOBURG — 25 years ago Nelson Mandela walked out of prison a free man unconditionally.

More than 20 years ago on 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of jail a free man after 27 years of imprisonment at Victor Verster prison.

Former president F W de Klerk addressed Parliament in 1990, saying the agenda for negotiation had been opened. This was a bold move for the then president, who invited several leaders to come forward with the goal of reaching a democratic constitution.

De Klerk not only released Mandela but announced the unbanning of political parties, including the African National Congress (ANC), The Pan Africanist Congress and the South African Communist Party. This was one of the first steps toward creating a liberated nation where all its citizens were free and equal.

“On the basis of numerous previous statements there is no longer any reasonable excuse for the continuation of violence,” De Klerk said during his address.

The late Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster near Paarl in the Western Cape on 11 February, he had been relocated from Robben Island in 1984. After his release, he was greeted by his then-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela where he addressed thousands of supporters at City Hall in Cape Town.

In 1993, De Klerk and  jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in abolishing the apartheid system’s policies

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