It is 20-years today since Nelson Mandela was freed from jail in South Africa, signalling end of Apartheid. His wife Winnie spoke to The Guardian about the day he rejoined the world. “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, seen by millions of people holding her then husband’s hand in images on 11 February 1990, admitted that the sunny optimism of that day has been clouded by political failures. Speaking to the Guardian in Johannesburg, Madikizela-Mandela described the future president’s mood as he prepared to walk out of Victor Verster prison in Paarl, near Cape Town. ‘It was great excitement,’ she said. ‘And he was human. He must have at a certain point been afraid, afraid of what he was coming out to after 27 years in prison, and having left in the 60s to come back to a society that expected so much of him at the age of over 70. I think he himself didn’t know what awaited him outside.’ Recalling the surge of public emotion, the 73-year-old added: ‘We were shocked at the response of the nation that at last we were going to be free. We knew from that day that he would lead us … to freedom.’”
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