Nelson Mandela Foundation


January 26, 2010 – Thursday, February 11, 2010, marks the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release, after having been imprisoned for 27-and-a-half years.

Former President FW de Klerk had announced the release and the unbanning of all outlawed organisations in his State of the Nation speech on February 2, 1990.

The Opening of Parliament this year has been scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Mr Mandela’s release and President Jacob Zuma will honour him in his State of the Nation address.

On the 15th anniversary of his release, Mr Mandela urged South Africans to keep building on our hard-won democracy, and called on us to never forget the generations before us who had made our freedom possible through many years of struggle.

Mr Mandela said then:

“For our country the anniversary invites us to consider how far we have come since those momentous days. Then we were the polecats of the world. Today we are a respected member of the international community of nations. Then we were on the brink of chaos. Today we have a growing democracy.”

While many events are planned to celebrate the anniversary, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is focusing on public education, as part of its core work in the Centre of Memory and Dialogue.

We are involved in the following:

  • “Mandela” the exhibition, which will open on February 10 at the Slave Lodge at the Iziko National Museum in Cape Town. Speakers at the exhibition opening will include Ahmed Kathrada, Cyril Ramaphosa and Professor GJ Gerwel. A version of this exhibition is currently on show at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.
  • A public seminar hosted by Iziko on February 6, with Ahmed Kathrada, Mamphela Ramphele, Dave Steward and Advocate George Bizos, in Cape Town.

We are also working with:

  • Doxa Productions to create a new website featuring video footage of Mr Mandela’s release and the events surrounding it.
  • STEPS (Social Transformation and Empowerment Projects) to create the “Free at Last” Film Festival, which will be presented in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Entrance to films will be free to ensure wider access to the public.