Home South African Zindzi Mandela shares sweet memories of historic day

Zindzi Mandela shares sweet memories of historic day


'Helped my Pops pick out his tie'

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gesture as Mandela walks free from the Victor Verster Prison in Paarl after serving 27 years in prison. Tuesday, February 11, 2020, marks the 30-year anniversary of the release of the former president. File picture: Greg English/AP

Johannesburg – Thirty years ago today, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, walked out of prison a free man for the first time in nearly three decades.  

On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of the Victor Verster Prison. Iconic pictures of a tall Mandela with former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with waves and a clinched first in the air, still consume the memories of many South Africans.  

Later that day, with President Cyril Ramaphosa on mic stand duty, Mandela addressed thousands of excited South Africans outside the Cape Town City Hall where he memorably made his first public speech after 27 years in prison. Mandela, who died in December seven years ago, is regarded as South Africa’s liberation father. 

Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, remembered the day fondly as she took to social media early on Tuesday morning. Zindzi, who is currently serving as South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, was 29 when her father was released from prison. In the 1980s, she had been championing calls for her father’s release from prison, speaking at several funerals and university gatherings. She recalled how she helped him pick out that famous tie on that memorable day, 30 years ago. 

“I was there with my babies Zoleka, Zondwa, Bambatha: and Mama leading the way. Helped my Pops pick out his tie and when he read his speech from the balcony, he borrowed my Mom’s glasses,” recalled Zindzi.

One of Zindzi’s close friends also shared the moment with her, also paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela. 

“I remember he borrowed Mami’s (Madikizela-Mandela) glasses on the balcony! I thought that so poignant because you and big mommy were his eyes and ears and hands during those 27 years when Mami was the most unmarried married woman. And obviously you picked the tie given your sense of style,” said the friend, Christian Smit.