Mandela,ex-wife Winnie celebrate 20 years of his freedom from jail

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Johannesburg (S. Africa), Feb.6 (ANI): Former South African president Nelson Mandela celebrated the 20th anniversary of his release from prison, and invited his ex-wife Winnie and others to an intimate dinner here on Thursday night.

Mandela, 91, was freed from Robben Island prison on Feb 11, 1990, after serving 27 years. He went on to become South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Cyril Ramaphosa, one of a number of anti-apartheid activists, hailed Mandela as an "inspiration" in the struggle against apartheid.

The Telegraph quoted him, as saying: "We are forever indebted to you, for the leadership and inspiration you provided. We are happy you are a free man, because as you became free, you made us free."

Mandela highlighted the importance of his friendship with his former jailer, Christo Brand, saying it "reinforced my belief in the essential humanity of even those who had kept me behind bars".

The gathering, arranged by Mandela's daughter, Zindzi, and Winnie, took place on the grounds of his Houghton home. His daughter filmed the evening for a documentary, Conversations About That Day.

South Africa's parliament will open next Thursday, the exact anniversary of Mandela's liberation. (ANI)

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