Nelson Mandela’s Triumphant Release — Twenty Years Later

When it comes to human rights, it often seems like we’re exposed to more horrors than triumphs, so it’s important to commemorate victories to remind ourselves that hope is alive and change is possible.

February 11th marks the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s historic release from Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl, South Africa after 27 years of imprisonment for “treason and sabotage.” Afterwards, he delivered a speech in front of 50,000 people in Cape Town and declared, “Our march to freedom is irreversible.”

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for being a leader in the fight against apartheid, South Africa’s oppressive system that dictated where blacks could work or live. As vice-president of the illegal African National Congress, he led a campaign to sabotage the country’s economy. He was arrested, and in 1964, sentenced to life in prison. At his trial, Mandela declared, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. 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.”

Fortunately Mandela lived to see freedom and the end of apartheid. Massive uprisings and civil unrest, as well as economic sanctions by other nations, led to the dissolution of apartheid. In 1990, President FW de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC and released Mandela.

Of course South Africa is not a utopia, and the deep consequences of systematic racism and oppression will take much time and effort to reverse. However Mandela’s resistance and spirit is an inspiration to the world and to those fighting injustice. Mandela is now 90 years old and has not ceased to fight for peace and justice; most notably he has been a vocal leader in the fight against AIDS and the stigma placed on the afflicted in Africa.

Take a moment to appreciate Mandela’s remarkable work and the 20th anniversary of his great milestone. May his legacy fuel your hope for the world and your drive to fight for justice.


Robert C.
Robert C.7 years ago

hey,people do you not see that since this mandela has been released ,over 300 000 people have been murdered in the most gruesome manner that you can all of the so called "bad" apardheid years ,which was about 40 there was only about 30 000 murders and that was over 40 years not 15 as is the case now with 300 is far from the great miracle that you all think it is.and most of the people who where killed in the apardheid years were killed by mandela's ANC terrorist organisation of which his then "beautiful"wife was involved in the brutal necklacing {placing a petrol filled tire around neck and burning. He Nelson Mandela did not voice his disaprovel at all.he condoned it,and that against the very people he was so called fighting for.....go look at the web site CENSORBUGBEAR.COM ,have a real look at the mandela south africa.

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago

“You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task which meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness, endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else’s strength and greatness. He’s proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.”

- Listen, Little Man (Wilhelm Reich, 1945)

Alexia de Saint John's
A. D7 years ago

A very great man!

sandra h.
Sandra Gnant H8 years ago

He certainly set (sets) a high standard for movers of government.
Would that we (USA) had some Mandela-type politicians.
Our world certainly needs more of this kind of person.

Aletta Kraan
Aletta Kraan8 years ago

Nelson Mandeela is a great person !!!!

Lionel Mann
Lionel Mann8 years ago

A very great man and tireless worker for his country's welfare, but there is yet much to be done. Can his successors worthily continue his work?

Jane H.
Jane H8 years ago

One of several heroes we respect---Mandela, ML King, Ghandi and more. How grateful we are to these people and to those they led or are presently leading Their tribe will increase because of their presence.

John Dixon
John D8 years ago

great post

Nellie K A.
Nellie K Adaba8 years ago

he's an inspiration to us all!

Nasrin O.
Nasrin O.8 years ago

Dear natasha
This article is very good.thank you.