Mandela Set Free

Published: 1990
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Nelson Mandela raises his fist to the crowd at the Washington Convention Center during his introduction June 26, 1990. Mandela spoke to a crowd of more than 19,000 people gathered to honor him. (UPI PHOTOS/Martin Jeong/FILES)

Speaker: I wish to put it plainly that the government has taken a firm decision to release Mr. Mandela unconditionally.

Howard Dicus: President Mr. Frederick William de Klerk did free Nelson Mandela, apartheid's most famous foe, and having done so, he stood for Mandela resuming a forceful fight for equality.

Nelson Mandela: We hold it as an invariable principle that racism must be opposed by all the means that humanity has at its disposal.

Howard Dicus: President Bush invited both men to come visit the White House. Mandela to honor a man who was an authentic hero to most Americans. De Klerk to reward him for finally putting his country on the road away from racism, but when De Klerk came to town, demonstrators objected.

Unknown speaker: Support Mandela and not de Klerk.

Unknown speaker: Shame on Bush.

Howard Dicus: And the leader of the US Anti-apartheid Movement sought to remind Americans, how far South Africa still had to go.

Randall Robinson: Blacks still have to right to vote. The Group Areas Act is still in place. The Internal Security's Act is still in place. The Land Acts are still in place.

Howard Dicus: Randall Robinson was right, but as the year wound down, it was revealed that President De Klerk intended to abolish most of those laws in a matter of weeks. 1990 had proven to be a pivot point in the fight against apartheid.