DCS hosts the 30th anniversary celebration of President Nelson Mandela’s release from incarceration


Minister Ronald Lamola welcomed the Mandela’s reception committee members, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu and other distinguished guests at the 30th commemoration of Tata Rolihlala Mandela’s release on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 at Drakenstein Management Area. The first leg of this honorary occasion was held at the Madiba house where he was held before his release.

DCS, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, the Mandela Foundation and the Presidency jointly re-enacted the events of this day, starting in Drakenstein and ending off with a speech by his Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation at the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall. President Ramaphosa spoke on the same podium he shared with Madiba on 11 February 1990 but this time standing alongside his statue. The President said the release of Madiba symbolized the end of apartheid. He remembered the crackling of the microphone as ‘it came to life’ when Madiba was about to deliver his first public speech on that day.

In his welcoming address, Minister Lamola mentioned the changes that were influenced by the sacrifices that former President Mandela made. He said the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of inmates across the globe, which were adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2015 were renamed the Nelson Mandela rules in honour of Madiba’s legacy. Madiba spent many years in prison in the course of struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy and the promotion of the culture of peace.

Madiba served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor, and Drakenstein Correctional Centres. The 11th of February marked 30 years since Madiba walked out of the Drakenstein prison gates into a democratic South Africa after President F.W de Klerk released him in 1990.


“The scenes of former President, Tata Nelson Mandela, walking out of this place, not just as freedom fighter, but as a father and a husband who had sacrificed every aspect of his life for the liberation of all South Africans, both black and white, defined the birth of a new era, not just in South Africa but also in the rest of the world,” said Minister Lamola. He said the day was a reminder that democracy was a product of immense sacrifice.

Former Ministers, Trevor Manuel, Vali Moosa and Sydney Mafumadi, and former National Director of Public Prosecution Bulelani Ngcuka were some of the National Reception Committee members who came to honour Madiba on the day. These prominent anti-apartheid activists spent a few minutes at the secluded Madiba house reminiscing on what was envisioned for the day, their state of political readiness at the time, lessons learnt and hilarious moments they shared with Madiba. The Reception Committee was established to prepare for and coordinate Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and the activities that followed thereafter.

The celebration at Drakenstein ended with a walk by Ministers, Deputy Ministers, the Reception Committee members and other dignitaries to the exit gate at the management area. There was also the laying of the wreaths at the three-metre-high bronze Madiba statue standing at the front gate of the Drakenstein Management Area.


Deputy Minister, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, National Commissioner Arthur Fraser and senior managers of DCS were also present.

See more pictures captured at Drakenstein and City Hall on the 30th anniversary of Madiba’s release by clicking here.

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