Lessons Learned: Nelson Mandela’s Release from Prison

February 7, 2012 10:48 am (EST)

Lessons Learned: Nelson Mandela’s Release from Prison
Explainer Video
from The Water's Edge

More on:

South Africa

Heads of State and Government

Political History and Theory

On February 11, 1990, South Africa released Nelson Mandela from prison. Since being jailed in 1962, Mandela had become one of the world’s most famous political prisoners, drawing international attention to the plight of black South Africans living under apartheid. After his release, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. James M. Lindsay, CFR’s senior vice president and director of studies, says that Mandela’s remarkable story shows how people make history, and that more recent examples, from Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar to Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, continue to prove the point that individuals shape the course of world events.

More From Our Experts

This video is part of Lessons Learned, a series dedicated to exploring historical events and examining their meaning in the context of foreign relations today.

More From Our Experts

More on:

South Africa

Heads of State and Government

Political History and Theory

Close

Top Stories on CFR

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Is America back and able to make the West once again the core of an open, rules-based world order? Biden and his counterparts have an opportunity to prove skeptics wrong this week.

Russia

U.S.-Russia bilateral relations have fallen to a new low, with Ukraine, Belarus, cyberattacks, and nuclear weapons among the biggest disagreements. What’s the best way to judge this summit’s success?

Latin America

The U.S. government is responding to another wave of migrants fleeing poverty, violence, and other challenges in the Central American region.