7 Iconic Pictures From Nelson Mandela’s Years In Prison


February 15, 2017
On the 11th of February, 1990 in South Africa, the revolutionary anti-partheid activist, Nelson Mandela, was freed after 27 long years in prison. In 1964, he was tried and sentenced to a life in prison for sabotage.

1. To Robben Island Prison Yard

Mandela, with some other political prisoners, raise their hands in the popular fist salute – a symbol of resistance to apartheid rule.

2. Mandela and Walter Sisulu

Walter Sisulu was a fellow inmate in Robben Island Prison Yard. He later became an important politician and served as the ruling party’s (ANC) Deputy President.

3. Prisoners doing manual labour

Amongst them was Mandela. He spent most of his time on Robben Island working on a quarry, crushing limestone.

4. Learning in prison

Mandela actually bagged a law degree in prison and if that’s not badass, we don’t know what is! He also learned to speak the local Afrikaans language to better communicate with the inmates.

5. A low class prisoner

Mandela was at first a Class D prisoner – the lowest grade ever, so he’d poop in a trash can and eat in the same place. In 1975, he was moved up to a Class A.

6. Behind bars

Even in prison, he was a good troublemaker and that earned him solitary confinement regularly. He got a letter and a visit every 6 months.

7. Long walk to freedom with his wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela

Even though he’d been pushing for it, Mandela was still very surprised at the sudden announcement of his release. He went on to become the country’s first black president in 1994.

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