Mandela laid foundation for democratic South Africa - Ramaphosa

The president addressed a gathering in Cape Town on the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

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 said Nelson Mandela laid the foundation for a democratic South Africa, but the country had a long way to go to realise the former president’s dream.

Ramaphosa addressed a gathering in Cape Town on the 30th anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison.

Thirty years ago, Ramaphosa from the balcony of City Hall held a microphone to amplify Mandela’s voice for the crowd below. Thirty years later, Ramaphosa echoed Madiba’s words from the steps of City Hall.

Standing next to the statue of Mandela, Ramaphosa spoke of unity and hailed the struggle icon as a symbol of resistance.

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He said Mandela's release was a day that dramatically changed the course of history in South Africa, saying it was an emotional and memorable moment.

“Thirty years ago, we will forever remember those first words: ‘I stand before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people’,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa added, while there was much to celebrate in the country, South Africa had a long way to go to realise Madiba's dream of a united nation.

“We can be proud of our achievements in entrenching the democracy that Nelson Mandela led us so ably to install, but yet there is much we can be less proud of,” he said.