Madiba's release remembered, 26 years on

Madiba's release remembered, 26 years on

Today, South Africans are remembering and celebrating the release of late icon, Tata Mandela - 26 years on. 

Mandela release
Twitter - Paul Lee Lotter

At 4.22pm on February 11, 1990 a multitude of South Africans watched Nelson Mandela exit Victor Verster Prison in Paarl. 

Alongside his wife at the time, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, they greeted dozens of supporters outside the correctional services centre. 

Shortly afterwards, Madiba delivered his first speech in 27 years at the Cape Town’s City Hall ( See selected quotes below.)

Mandela went on to become the country's first democratic president in 1994, retiring in 1995.

Amongst the many philanthropic projects the late statesman founded, the Nelson Mandela Foundation - responsible for his legacy, memory, and public policy development - and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund - responsible for providing healthcare and developmental support to children in Southern Africa - were formed. 

Here are five quotes from the first speech delivered following his release.

We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. 

I pay tribute to the endless heroism of the youth. You, the young lions, you, the young lions, have energised our entire struggle. I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle.

Amandla! Amandla! iAfrika! Mayibuye! 

My salutations will be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family. I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own.

In conclusion, I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are as true today as they were then. I quote:

'I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have carried the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.'

With the hashtag #NelsonMandela trending on Twitter, prominent figures and organisations shared their tributes.

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