With the announcement that Nelson Mandela will not return to prison, the way has been cleared to print pictures of him for the first time in a quarter century.
At last: A face not seen for 25 years
The Weekly Mail can today print the first legal selection of pictures of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in 27 years. Since he was jailed in 1962, pictures of Mandela have been prohibited because he was a prisoner. Only one picture has occasionally been used in the last two years: a poor image that could be legally printed because it came from an official government publication. But the government has now told us that Mandela is not going back to prison. If that is true, he is no longer, legally speaking, a prisoner – and photographs of him may be lawfully printed. The Weekly Mail has gathered a number of historic pictures from the very few that exist of on of the world's most famous men. Some of these are from books, some from private collections; all of them were taken before he went to prison.
The government first announced last week that Mandela would not be going to prison. On Wednesday this week he was moved from his bed in the Constantia Clinic, where he had been recovering from TB, to a house adjacent to the Victor Verster prison farm in Paarl. This is the first step in the tortuous process the government is using to release Mandela gradually. Their hope is to defuse excitement over his release, and make it as quiet as possible by doing it in stages. His family is now allowed free access to him.
However, the move has not been widely welcomed, and has brought a flood of renewed calls for the ANC leader's unconditional release. Mandela's wife, Winnie Mandela said immediately she believed he was still a prisoner. Her lawyer, Ismail Ayob, conveyed Mrs Mandela' s views: "Her response was that Mr Mandela remained a prisoner of the South African government, and that the concession made to him personally today is clearly a response to the domestic and international pressure for his release. "She does not intend taking more than the normal 40-minute visit that she has been allowed in the past until all political prisoners are allowed the same privileges."
This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.