GLEE NELSON MANDELA; Joy over icon's 20-year freedom.
NELSON Mandela beams as he is feted by his country yesterday on the 20th anniversary of his momentous release from prison.
The statesman, 91, was cheered by politicians as he arrived in parliament in Cape Town as a guest of honour.
There were even more gleeful scenes 30 miles away as crowds thronged outside Victor Verster jail, where he spent his final months in captivity. South African political figures re-enacted the historic 1990 walk to freedom through its gates that ended his 27 years behind bars.
His former wife Winnie, 73 was due to lead the walk but pulled out yesterday, claiming it would have been "too painful". Mr Mandela did not attend.
Anti-apartheid veteran Cyril Ramaphosa told marchers: "We are celebrating a life that has been lived in service of our people. He knew he needed to continue living for the people that were outside. Without the struggle of our people, he would never have been released. His freedom meant our freedom had also arrived."
Local resident Poppy Shabalala, 65, said: "I'm here today to show my gratitude for what he did."
A 10ft bronze statue of the former President - his fist raised in a clenched salute - now stands outside the jail.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu hailed Mr Mandela's freedom as the "day that promised the beginning of the end of indignity".
CHRIS HARRIS, Times photographer who witnessed the historic moment Mandela was released
CROWDS of photographers were camped at the prison but a BBC reporter let me and a colleague use his van roof and we got Mandela walking out. Back in Johannesburg we didn't have a clue what he'd do, but if I had been in jail 27 years I'd want to go home. So we knocked on his door in Soweto and he gave us tea in his garden. I did a picture which meant a lot to me. You see his dignity, strength and intelligence.
1990 Mandela and Winnie's historic walk from jail TRIBUTE Mandela and, inset, happy locals
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 12, 2010|
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