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FW De Klerk’s kindness didn’t free Nelson Mandela - Ramaphosa

The former president was released from the Victor Verster Prison after spending 27 years behind bars.

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking on Cape Town's City Hall balcony at the 30th-anniversary parade of the release of former president Nelson Mandela who was jailed for 27 years. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison 30 years ago was the day the world knew apartheid was over.

The former president was released from the Victor Verster Prison after spending 27 years behind bars.

Ramaphosa's remarks came as the country commemorated 30 years since Mandela returned home and made his first address at the City Hall in Cape Town.

Ramaphosa said it was not the kindness of FW de Klerk that ensured Madiba's release, rather the pressure the apartheid regime faced.

Ramaphosa said Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was instrumental in his release.

“Winnie Mandela kept Nelson Mandela’s name alive every day. She and many others kept fires of resistance burning in the breasts of the people of this country.”

WATCH: Commemorating 30 years since Mandela's release