Nightly News   |  February 11, 2010

Mandela's prison release remembered

Nelson Mandela made a rare and emotional appearance in South Africa Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison after spending 27 years in jail for protesting apartheid. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new robitussin? to go.

>>> in south africa today, a rare and emotional public appearance by nelson mandela . he is now 91, happy, but in fragile health these days. a heartfelt welcome by that country's parliament. the occasion, it was 20 years ago today mandela walked to freedom after 27 1/2 years in prison for opposing south africa 's system of racial apartheid. mandela's triumph became a beacon of hope around the world. four years later he was elected president of south africa . on the day after his victory, i was the first person to get to meet with him that morning. listen to what he said when i asked him how he planned to manage the enormous expectations for reconciliation in racial harmony.

>> it cannot be done overnight. it is going to take a year, two years, even as much as five years.

>> part of our conversation that