23 years into freedom

Photos_Web_Photo_Mandela_030413

Nelson Mandela is "much better" and responding satisfactorily to treatment after a week in hospital suffering from pneumonia.

Nelson Mandela is "much better" and responding satisfactorily to treatment after a week in hospital suffering from pneumonia.

Photos_Web_Photo_Mandela_030413

Nelson Mandela is "much better" and responding satisfactorily to treatment after a week in hospital suffering from pneumonia.

Nelson Mandela is "much better" and responding satisfactorily to treatment after a week in hospital suffering from pneumonia.

JOHANNESBURG - February 11, 2013 marks 23 years since Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela walked from Victor Verster prison, a free man.  After 27 years of incarceration, Mandela emerged a struggle hero.

An anti-apartheid activist, Mandela was arrested in 1963 for plotting to overthrow the government.

He was leader of the ANC at the time, and a lawyer.

In 1964 he was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in jail. 

In a defence statement during the so-called Rivonia trial, he said, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He repeated this during the closing of his speech in Cape Town, on the day he was released in 1990.

Mandela&39;s liberation marked a pivotal point in the South Africa&39;s history, as he went on to become the country&39;s first black president in 1994, in the first free elections.

During his inaugural address in Pretoria, on  9 May 1994, he said, "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another…"