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Last updated:28 May 2015

Release of Nelson Mandela

February's object is a photograph of Nelson Mandela to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his release from prison

nelson mandelaOn 11 February 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from jail following 27 years of imprisonment (he had co-ordinated sabotage campaigns against military and government targets as leader of the African National Congress (ANC)'s armed wing).

His release was broadcast live all over the world. An international campaign for his release had begun in 1980, culminating in ever-tightening economic sanctions against South Africa. This was a truly international campaign which saw the involvement of people across the globe.

Apartheid in South Africa

anti-apartheid poster

Nelson Mandela’s release followed a relaxation of apartheid laws, including a lifting of the ban on the ANC by South African President FW de Klerk.

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation introduced by the National Government in South Africa in 1948. A series of laws were passed in the 1950s, which restricted the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa and entrenched the minority rule by the whites.

The government segregated education, medical care, public facilities and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of whites. In 1994 Apartheid ended when South Africa held free democratic elections. These were won by the ANC under Nelson Mandela.

February 2010

Click here for more information about the library's collections covering Black and Asian history


Resources by and about Nelson Mandela in the library collection

Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela speaks: speeches, statements and articles (no date) - Shelfmark: H36

Nelson Mandela, No easy walk to freedom: articles, speeches and trial addresses of Nelson Mandela (1973) - Shelfmark: I28

Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela: I am prepared to die (1979) - Shelfmark: AG Africa Box 2

Nelson Mandela, Mandela speaks: statements from Nelson Mandela to the people of South Africa (ca. 1985) - Shelfmark: AG Africa Box 4

Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela speaks: forging a democratic non-racial South Africa (1993) - Shelfmark: M25

Nelson Mandela, Long walk to freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1995) - Shelfmark: I12

Fatima Meer, Higher than hope: a biography of Nelson Mandela (1990) - Shelfmark: K02

Mary Benson, Nelson Mandela (1986) - Shelfmark: Q32

Martin Meredith, Nelson Mandela: a biography (1997) - Shelfmark: I48

Hilda Bernstein, The world that was ours: the story of the Rivonia trial (1989) - Shelfmark: P14

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