On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela was 71, and finally freed after being imprisoned 27 years as a political prisoner. He was a lawyer for the Transkei homeland and was convicted of treason and sabotage in June 1964. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent most of his sentence on Robben Island, off Cape Town, doing hard labour. He had been offered early release on numerous occasions since the 1980s from the government in Pretoria, but refused because of the conditions attached.
By 1994, he had become the first black President of South Africa. In 1993, Mandela and South Africa’s former President, FW de Klerk, shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to bring together the South African people.
Relive the day of his freedom here: