Today in History: Nelson Mandela released after 27 years of imprisonment

On February 11, 1990, the South African government released Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment.

  • Learn about the circumstances of Mandela’s release in Martin Meredith’s Mandela: A Biography, available through ebrary, Inc. See especially chapter 20, “A Step to Freedom.”
  • Read a transcript of the speech Mandela gave in Cape Town on the day of his release, available from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
  • See original newspaper reports of Mandela’s release in in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers database. Using the Advanced Search feature, search for Mandela, limit the date to after February 11, 1990, and sort by Publication date (oldest first).
  • Four years later, he was elected president of South Africa in 1994. See more information about his life and political career in Gale Biography in Context
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