SA celebrates 26th anniversary of Madiba’s release from prison

Today marks exactly 26 years since former President Nelson Mandela walked out of prison.

FILE: Anti-apartheid leader and ANC member Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie raise fists upon his release from Victor Verster prison, 11 February 1990 in Paarl. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks exactly 26 years since former President Nelson Mandela walked out of prison.

Mandela was released in 1990 after being incarcerated for 27 years.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation's Sello Hatang has urged South Africans to continue Madiba's legacy of deepening democracy.

"I think if there's one thing South Africans can take from Madiba's legacy is service. At the time when he came out of prison he said he's here to service and he did exactly that."

WATCH: Nelson Mandela walks out of prison

After becoming president in 1989, FW de Klerk was set on ending apartheid and in February 1990 ordered for the release of Mandela.

He walked side-by-side with his then wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, to greet hundreds of supports and South Africans outside the Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl.

They both made their way to Cape Town's City Hall where Madiba gave his first speech; it's estimated he addressed a crowd of about 50,000 people.

WATCH: Nelson Mandela's first speech after his release

At the time of his release, Mandela was the deputy-president of the African National Congress, and after his release he was elected president of the party.

He later served a five-year term from 1994 when South Africa held its first democratic elections, before retiring in 1999.

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