February 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela Released From Prison.
Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.
In 1944, Nelson Mandela a lawyer, joined the African National Congress, the oldest black political organization in South Africa. In 1952 he became deputy national president of the ANC, in which he advocated the use of nonviolence in order to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Mandela helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC in order to engage in guerrilla warfare the white minority government.
Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial in 1964 on charges of sabotage. On June 1964, he was convicted along with other members of the ANC and sentenced to life in prison.
Mandela spent the first 18 years of his 27 years in jail at the Robben Island Prison. In which he endured hard labor in a quarry and was only allowed to see a visitor once a year for 30 minutes. However, Mandela’s fight against apartheid would continue, as he began to lead a movement of civil disobedience within the prison where he was located. He was later transferred to another location, where he lived under house arrest.
In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became the President of South Africa and set about dismantling apartheid. De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and on February 1990 ordered the release of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela became leader of the ANC and led negotiations with the white minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One year later Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in its first free election.