On this day, 23 years ago, Nelson Mandela was released from the South African prison where he'd been held for nearly 27 years.
In August of 1962 Mandela was arrested, jailed and convicted of leaving the country illegally and inciting workers to strike. He was sentenced to five years in prison, where he remained through June 1964 when he was sentenced to life for his anti-apartheid engagement through the African National Congress (ANC) and the Umkhonto we Sizwe or "MK," the ANC's armed wing. He would spend the next 18 years at the Robben Island penitentiary until 1982, when he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the South African mainland.
Throughout the 1980s, international pressure for South Africa to release Mandela and to abandon its system of government-sponsored white supremacy began to mount. In 1985, the country's then president, P. W. Botha, offered to free Mandela in exchange for his renunciation of violence as a means of solving the countries racial problems. Mandela refused the offer.
As tension in the country grew, and as countries around the world tightened sanctions against South Africa and its apartheid regime, president F.W. de Klerk eventually relented.
On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison.
Today, 23 years later, we honor Mandela's lifelong fight for his own freedom and for the freedom of his people, by taking a look back at 23 photos that encapsulate his impact on South Africa, and the world.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place