Ramaphosa urges youth to follow in footsteps of Madiba, freedom fighters

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was freed on 11 February 1990 after 27 years in prison for his liberation fight.

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

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called on South Africans to intensify efforts to make good on the promise made by former president Nelson Mandela to bring a better life for citizens, specifically young people.

He made the call during an event to commemorate 30 years since Madiba was released from prison.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was freed on 11 February 1990 after 27 years in prison for his liberation fight.

The anniversary also marks the unbanning of political parties and the formal end of apartheid.

On this day, 30 years ago, Mandela walked free after almost three decades in prison. Thousands of people gathered on Cape Town’s Grand Parade to hear his first address to the nation.

The man who held Madiba’s microphone that day was Ramaphosa. Now the nation’s president, Ramaphosa stood in the exact same spot and marked it as a memorable moment.

“Exhilaration, anticipation and excitement… but nothing can describe that brief moment when the microphone crackled, right here where I am standing, when it crackled and a hush came over the crowd.”

The majority of the crowd he addressed were school children and he had this advice for young people.

“It is you and the generations yet to come that we will do everything for using the examples set by men and women like president Mandela.”

Ramaphosa is set to address a youth forum on Wednesday ahead of delivering his State of the Nation address on Thursday.