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Amandla! Mandela's prison release moment of great joy, says Ramaphosa

Several events have been planned in and around Cape Town to mark the historic event.

FILE: A picture taken on February 11, 1990 shows Nelson Mandela (C) and his then-wife Winnie raising their fists and saluting cheering crowd upon Mandela's release from the Victor Verster prison near Paarl. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Today marks exactly three decades since former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Mandela walked out of the Drakenstein Correctional Centre - formerly Victor Verster prison - on this day in 1990.

Several events have been planned in and around Cape Town to mark the historic event.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver a public address at the Cape Town City Hall balcony, where Mandela made his first speech following his release from jail hours earlier.

Ramaphosa said this was a moment of great joy across the country. He was alongside Madiba on the balcony that day and said he remembered vividly the large crowds that had gathered outside the Victor Verster prison in Paarl and on the Grand Parade to hear Mandela’s speech.

WATCH: Nelson Mandela released from Victor Verster Prison

Ramaphosa said Mandela’s release was a defining moment in the march towards democracy as it had been just a week after then President FW de Klerk announced the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC) and other political organisations.

However, the president said it was the image of Madiba walking through the gates of prison, with Winnie Madikizela Mandela by his side, that confirmed to South Africans and the world that a new era had dawned.

WATCH: Mandela’s historic speech at Grand Parade

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