One of the most prominent leaders of the anti-apartheid movement, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
His resolve to believe in the idea that South Africa could and should put an end to the status quo and embark on a path to democracy, for and by the people (thus including a multi-party and diverse government) was granted by then-President F. W. de Klerk.
Part of the remarks he made in Cape Town, following his release:
"We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts