Nelson Mandela, with his wife, Winnie, walks to freedom after 27 years in prison on Feb. 11, 1990, in Cape Town.
Credit Reuters /Landov
Nelson Mandela, pictured in the early 1960s, before he was sentenced in 1964 to life in prison for sabotage. The government did not release photos of Mandela during his many years in prison, and few people knew what he looked like at the time of his release.
Credit Udo Weitz / AP
Several hours after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first speech on the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall. As he prepared to speak, he realized he had left his glasses in the prison. So he borrowed a pair from his wife Winnie.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:19 pm
One of the most remarkable days of Nelson Mandela's extraordinary life was Feb. 11, 1990, when he walked out of prison after 27 years behind bars. Greg Myre, the international editor of NPR.org, covered Mandela's release for The Associated Press and recounts that day.
The evening before his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was ushered into a secret meeting with South African President F.W. de Klerk for a conversation that sounded straight from the theater of the absurd.