In this Feb. 11, 1990, file photo Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from prison in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Greg English/AP
In this Feb. 11, 1990, file photo Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from prison in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Greg English/AP

Plans to mark 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s prison release

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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Cape Town - Next Tuesday will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of democratic South Africa’s first president, Nelson Mandela, from the Victor Verster prison, now known as the Drakenstein Correctional Centre.

The anniversary also marks and celebrates the unbanning of political parties in South Africa and the formal end of apartheid.

The anniversary will come two days before President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address.

A commemorative event, with three parts, will take place on Tuesday.

The first part will have past members of the original reception committee who facilitated Mandela’s return from prison, reunite. This will take place from 8am to 10.30am at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre.

In the second part, Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee will deliver a lecture, followed by a panel discussion featuring the author of Feeling and Ugly, Danai Mupotsa, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi.

This will be held at the Cape Town City Hall from noon to 2pm. The event will conclude with an address by Ramaphosa titled “The Speech that Birthed A Nation, 30 years on”.

The address will take place from the Cape Town City Hall balcony - the same iconic spot where Mandela addressed the nation hours after his release from the prison.

STRUGGLE ICON: Nelson Mandela, flanked by Walter Sisulu, his former wife Winnie and Cyril Ramaphosa, reads his famous speech at the steps of the Cape Town City Hall after his release. Photo: Leon Muller/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The former president spent 14 months at the Paarl prison until his release on 11 February 1990. 

“That moment signified a seismic shift in South African politics. From that day onwards Mandela began in earnest the project of transformation and nation building in SA. Thirty years later we commemorate that moment in history, and recommit ourselves to the project of transformation and nation building,” said Nelson Mandela Foundation communications manager, Kneo Mokgopa. 

Thandiswa Mazwai, lead vocalist and songwriter for South African band, Bongo Maffin will perform and the free event which public are urged to attend.

@TheCapeArgus

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Cape Argus

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