Twenty years ago today South Africa’s former President and peace icon Nelson Mandela was set free.
The black leader spent 27 years at Robben island prison after being jailed for life for treason and sabotage against the South African apartheid regime.
Cameraman Alvin Andrews, who covered the historic event, remembered the moment: ‘‘The shots of Mandela coming out of prison, it’s just, iconic images that will always stay in my mind. I think the look on his face, it was a kind of strange look as if…well, here we are, hundreds of cameras and I am going to be in the spotlight from here on.’‘
Mandela’s release marked the beginning of the end for Apartheid. A system that made clear distinctions between South Africa’s black and white population.
Two decades on, despite some progress, poverty, inequality, crime and HIV/Aids blight the Rainbow Nation.
Nonetheless, South Africa’s change to democracy and Mandela’s part in it is still heralded as a miracle.