Nelson Mandela's Release from Prison

The world watched as anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela took his first steps of freedom on February 11, 1990 after 27 years behind bars. Waiting outside Victor Verster Prison were his wife Winnie Mandela and hundreds of thousands of supporters. Mandela would spend the next year touring the world, thanking his supporters and advocating for an end to apartheid. Here is his journey in 1990.

Yolanda Sangweni Dec, 05, 2013

1 of 16 ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

Mandela and then-wife Winnie raise their fists to salute the cheering crowd after his release from Victor Verster Prison on February 11, 1990. It was his first taste of freedom in 27 years.

2 of 16 Alexander Joe/ AFP/ Getty

Supporters gather around a car carrying Nelson Mandela moments after his release from the Victor Verster prison in Cape Town, South Africa.

3 of 16 Walter Dhladhla/ AFP/ Getty

Mandela delivers his first public speech in Cape Town, South Africa a few hours after his release from prison.

4 of 16 Georges De Keerle/Getty

Crowds in Cape Town took to the streets to celebrate Mandela's release on February 11, 1990.

5 of 16 Trevor Samson/ AFP/ Getty

A jubilant supporter holds up a newspaper on the day of Nelson Mandela's release from Victor Verster prison in Cape Town, South Africa.

6 of 16 AFP

Supporters wait for Mandela during his visit to Soweto.

7 of 16 William F. Campbell//Time Life Pictures/Getty

Nelson Mandela and then-wife Winnie attend a mass rally in Orange Free State, South Africa.

8 of 16 Scott Peterson/Liaison

Supporters arrive at a rally for Nelson Mandela in Orlando Stadium February 20, 1990 in Soweto Township, South Africa.

9 of 16 Scott Peterson/Liaison

Supporters cheer for Nelson Mandela at a rally in Orlando Stadium February 20, 1990 in Soweto Township, South Africa.

10 of 16 Walter Dhladhla/ AFP/ Getty

A month after his release, Nelson Mandela began his tour of Africa with a stop in Zambia where he met then-president Kenneth Kaunda.

11 of 16 Trevor Samson/ AFP/ Getty

Mandela met with Namibian president Sam Nujoma shortly after his release.

12 of 16 Alexander Joe/ AFP/ Getty

African National Congress supporters welcome Nelson Mandela as he arrives in Zimbabwe on March 4, 1990.

13 of 16 Gerry Penny/ AFP/ Getty

Nelson Mandela and then-wife Winnie Mandela attend a concert at Wembley Stadium in London on April 16, 1990 in honor of his release.

14 of 16 Mona Sharaf/ AFP/ Getty

Continuing on his tour of Africa, Nelson Mandela met with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak three months after his release from prison.

15 of 16 Dirck Halstead/TIME & LIFE Images

Nelson Mandela met with then-United States President George Bush at the White House on June, 25, 1990, four months after his release from prison.

16 of 16 AFP

Nelson Mandela visited New York in June. He urged the United Nations to maintain sanctions against South Africa until apartheid is abolished.