Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has described the moment that former President Nelson Mandela took his first steps out of prison 20 years ago as "the milestone of a very long journey".
Motlanthe was addressing thousands of people who gathered at the Drakenstein Prison to mark Madiba's release from prison on Thursday.
"He was clear in his mind what the next step would be in order for us to attain the society he would die for and in 1994 when the time came for us to vote, he chose to cast his first vote in KwaZulu-Natal in a small place called Groutville. That offered him the opportunity to visit the grave of Inkosi Albert Luthuli.
"We must remember that our mission is to take the struggle to a higher plane and to ensure that all people live together in harmony. That is our historical obligation," said Motlanthe.
With only a few hours left before President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address, Motlanthe said Zuma would elaborate on his plans for education, crime, job creation, rural development, as well as land reform.