THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On February 11, 1990, after 27 years in prison, anti-Apartheid activist, lawyer, political leader and counter-terrorist freedom fighter Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released from prison.
After being convicted of sabotage in 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison and spent 18 years in the brutal and infamous prison known as ‘Robben Island’, a few miles of the coast of Cape Town, along with the likes of Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki (father of former president Thabo Mbeki), John Nyathi Pokela, Tokyo Sexwale, Robert Sobukwe and current president of South Africa Jacob Zuma.
In 1989, F.W. De Klerk became South African president and as part of the road to ending Apartheid, he lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.
In 1993, Mandela and De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994, after a successful campaign as leader of the ANC, Mandela was became the first democratically elected president of South Africa, as well as the country’s first ever black president.