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Historical past By means of Our Eyes: June 20, 1990, Nelson Mandela visits Montreal

Nelson Mandela arrives at Union United Church in Montreal on June 19, 1990.


Mandela, then 71, had at that time been free for under 4 months after having spent 27 years in jail for his anti-apartheid efforts.

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“The crowds that greeted (Nelson) Mandela have been as a lot in love with the person because the message, warming to his smile and basking within the aura of somebody they stated has historical past on his facet,” we reported on June 20, 1990.

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Gordon Beck’s picture of the then-leader of South Africa’s African Nationwide Congress arriving for a go to to Union United Church appeared on Web page A1.

Mandela’s go to to the town the day before today lasted lower than 4 hours, we wrote.

At the moment, apartheid — South Africa’s system of racial classification and separation that legislated discrimination in opposition to non-whites and denied them the vote — was nonetheless in impact, however its days appeared numbered. Mandela, then 71, had at that time been free for under 4 months after having spent 27 years in jail for his anti-apartheid efforts. We described him as “rail-thin, grandfatherly.”

Mandela’s arrival in Montreal was a part of a world tour whose Canadian stops included Toronto and Ottawa, the place he addressed Parliament and thanked Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for his authorities’s assist.

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In Montreal, Mandela made a 20-minute speech on Champ de Mars, assuring a crowd of some 20,000 folks that progress was being made in dismantling apartheid, we reported. Among the many performers at that occasion have been Oliver Jones and Gilles Vigneault.

Apartheid’s days have been certainly numbered. Mandela went on to guide the ANC to victory within the 1994 multi-racial elections, turning into the brand new South Africa’s first president. He selected to not run once more when his time period resulted in 1999.

Mandela died in 2013, at age 95.

Historical past By means of Our Eyes: Images of Individuals and Occasions That Formed twentieth Century Montreal, which compiles the unique 2019 sequence in e-book type, is out there on-line from montrealhistorybooks.com and at native bookstores. A portion of proceeds from books offered on the on-line tackle will go to the Gazette Christmas Fund.

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