Twenty years ago today, Nelson Mandela took his first steps as a free man after spending 27 years in jail. And with his release, South Africa was spurred into abolishing apartheid, the institutionalized segregation that had divided the country since the 1940s. Thousands of South Africans marked the anniversary by celebrating on the steps of the last prison where Mandela was held, known then as Victor Verster, near Cape Town. It was there that he had walked out, fist raised and hand-in-hand with his then wife, Winnie, creating one of the iconic images of the nation's struggle. That moment was immortalized in 2008 with a tall bronze statue that now stands in front of the prison. Though Mandela, 92, has largely retired from public life, he was expected to appear in parliament to hear President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-union address.
End of Apartheid Paul Gilham / Getty Images