On Sunday afternoon, February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Prison, now known as the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, flanked by his wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his right hand raised and fist clenched.
Excited supporters were held back by police while trying to get a glimpse of their just-freed leader who had spent 27 years in prison for fighting against the country’s discriminatory apartheid system of racial segregation.
Having guided the country through a dramatic transition that marked the end of apartheid, Mandela in 1994 became South Africa‘s first black president.
The inspirational and globally revered leader stepped down after serving one term as head of state and officially retired from public life in 2004. He died aged 95 on December 5, 2013.