February 12th, 2010
01:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama calls Mandela to mark prison release anniversary

President Obama called Nelson Mandela Friday to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.
President Obama called Nelson Mandela Friday to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.

Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama called former South African President Nelson Mandela Friday to mark the 20th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Mandela, 91, was released from prison in 1990 after spending 27 years behind bars for his opposition to apartheid.

The bulk of Mandela's sentence was spent at Robben Island, near Cape Town.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Tom, Flastaff AZ

    There is no man or woman for whom I have more admiration than I have for Nelson Mandela. Clarity of thought, commitment, and courage. He was–and remains–a great man.

    February 12, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Obama calls Mandela.....

    We Hope Obama asked Mandela for advice how to be a Leader...because this man with all the adviser around him and a year of practise still has no clue...................................................................??!!

    February 12, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I can see the headlines In a newly released Rasmussen/Fox poll, 99% of Fox viewers think Obama should not talk to former world leaders.

    February 12, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. perryrants

    wow,

    1. what balls does obama have to ask this of another leader
    2. what would the point be?

    February 12, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Very nice thing to do.

    February 12, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Sgt. USMC

    To Freedom!

    February 12, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Snerdly, the invisible token

    Someday most Americans will be fighting the same fight Mandela fought,only it will be against the rightwing corporate fascists.

    February 12, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Abe

    I am a proud African and a proud citizen of the United States. To me Mr. Mandela is light like the Olympic torch that keeps burning spreading hope, human rights,dignity and all of us are born equally and no one should deny us our independence. African leaders should learn from Mr. Mandela the true decency, care, love for country, true warrior and loves his country/ people. 27 years in prison did not break him or diminish his dream of a free South Africa and break the backbone of apartheid. A true politician/ humanitarian you can see it in his eyes that the work is not done yet and still at 91 he is active. To our African leaders that are corrupt and not give there people there legal rights take note from Mr. Mandela the true quality of a leader, visionary, proud to be an African and loves human dignity. It will be a long time before someone like Mr. Mandela comes along. So lets wish what I call an African icon a happy birthday and take lessons.

    February 12, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Jane/Seattle

    I wish President Obama would seek this man's wise advise from the perspective of both his regrets and his triumphs with regard to his political career since his release.

    The free marketeers, in the form of the "Shock Doctors" (Naomi Klein), sure did not do much for South Africa or the plight of it's poor. Mandela's successor made the big mistake of listening to the World Bank and IMF! This put this nation in severe debt that very successfully squanders/ed money that could be helping the People! Come to think of it, this is happening everywhere! This Is NO Accident! Think of every nation these folks come to "Help" and you will see that Poverty becomes worse – from the Southern Cone of South America to Name any place! Read the book! It will all become clear! Then verify it with John Perkins and other truthful writers and Thom Hartmann. Thanks for considering.

    February 12, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Orange Curtain, CA

    The Tea Klux Klan i'm sure will find something to criticize Obama about for supporting Mandela.

    February 12, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Shara

    I wish Mr. Mandela another 100 years with us.

    February 12, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Honest Abe

    Nelson Mandela is a hero in my book! The world needs more people like him.

    February 12, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Mark

    If people knew anything about Mandela, they would bash Obama for supporting him.

    February 12, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    WOW @Orange Curtain, CA – The "Tea Klux Klan".... I like that!!! ROTFLMAO!!

    Could you imagine – a man that was wrongfully put in jail could come out and be a President of South Africa!! This shows how the Will of the People could do wonders!!!

    February 12, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Nelson Mandela's injustice drew attention and criticism from leaders and people around the World that led to his release. To those of you who criticize President Obama's request let your mind be released from hate and anger.

    February 12, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. MIKE

    lol mark. you are out of materials!

    February 12, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. MIKE

    Great human being. Nelson mandela!

    February 12, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Jillian, CA

    Mandella, a man of peace and wisdom.

    Kudos to the president for calling him. I wish I could shake both of their hands.

    February 12, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. W l Jones

    The dept of one mind and soul come from his mother. It appears she taugh Mr Mandela well because he love all people as well as himself.

    February 12, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    He didnt know that freedom would lead to a larger global fascism run by corporate slavers.

    February 12, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. qnswmn

    I love Nelson Mandela but too bad nothing has really changed in South Africa, the Black population is still poor as hell and its resources, i.e., diamonds and gold are still do not owned or control by Africans, others still do!

    The White invader population still own and control everything that is worth owning and controlling in South Africa. It’s the same situation that Black people in the United States deal with everyday. We have acquired so called civil rights but we are still are lagging way behind and are still struggling for economic rights and justice! Here we are in 2010, still struggling for the same things that we struggled for 30yrs ago, 40 yrs ago, etc. ! The struggle for Civil rights without economic justice is truly ridiculous and it never changes anything for the masses, except we can now physically go pretty much anywhere we want too.

    February 12, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Alan Deming

    "If people knew anything about Mandela, they would bash Obama for supporting him." @Mark - You sir, are truly the ignorant one.

    February 12, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. James

    And BUSH should be calling Obama to thank him from Prosecuting him for war crimes and crimes against the American People.

    February 12, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Marc

    Hey, Mark, of whom are you talking about?
    The Nelson Mandela I know is the one that LED BY EXAMPLE and won a fight against a racist form of government (that not only denied the majority of its population any citizenship and the rights that came from it but also spent money in the development of diseases that would kill only blacks) by peaceful resistance. There was a lot of blood in the story of the fight against apartheid, but it was caused by the government against those who they deemed as non-citizens and not the other way around.
    He started the process that prevented a bloodbath whenthe apartheid fell.
    His country as a lot of social problems that might take decades to be solved, but he helped to put a whole country in the right path.
    And just in case you are making a mistake about South African presidents, it was Tabo Mbeki who based all the governments actions against the AIDS in the false assumption that the virus HIV doesn't causes that disease...

    February 12, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. fez

    Do people in america even know that mandela was still being officially recognized as a terrorist as of 2008 for his role in fighting apatheid. good to see that finally congress saw the light. Viva mandela viva madiba the jewel of africa!!!!

    February 12, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |