Nelson Mandela's 1990 release marked in South Africa
Politicians sang and cheered as Nelson Mandela entered parliament
Celebrations are being held to mark 20 years since the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, a key step towards ending apartheid in South Africa.
In Cape Town, prominent figures took part in a commemorative walk at the prison where he spent the final months of his 27-year imprisonment.
Mr Mandela, 91, was cheered when he came to parliament to hear a speech by current President Jacob Zuma.
Mr Zuma said South Africa continued to follow its first black leader's vision.
Mr Mandela spent most of his sentence in Robben Island prison, off the coast of Cape Town, and later in Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland.
Before his release, he lived in a cottage in the grounds of Victor Verster prison in a rural area some 50km (31 miles) from Cape Town, with his own cook.
Thursday's re-enactment walk went through the gates of Victor Verster prison, now known as Drakenstein prison, where a statue of Mr Mandela stands with its hand upraised.
AT THE SCENE
Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Cape Town
Hundreds of people, some wearing yellow T-shirts bearing Nelson Mandela's image, retraced his final walk to freedom after 27 years in captivity, chanting "Viva Madiba [his clan name]". Thousands more gathered to watch.
Led by several ANC leaders who spent time in Robben Island prison with Mr Mandela, they marched from the cottage in Victor Verster prison, now known as Drakenstein Prison, where he spent his final months.
In a picture that would have made Mr Mandela proud, black, white and Asian South Africans marched side-by-side through the prison gates, which then closed slowly behind them.
As they passed the statue which has been erected of the prison's most famous former inmate, many raised their fists - recreating the image which has come to symbolise the end of white minority rule in South Africa after years of bitter struggle, led by Mr Mandela.
Cyril Ramaphosa, who was among the veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle taking part in the walk, recalled Mr Mandela's crucial role.
"We are celebrating a life that has been lived in service of our people," he said.
"He knew he needed to continue living for the people that were outside. Without the struggle of our people, Madiba would have never been released," he added, using Mr Mandela's clan name.
Mr Mandela's former wife, Winnie Mandela, had been due to lead the walk, but a spokesman said on Thursday morning that she would not be appearing because it would have been "too painful".
Poppy Shabalala, a 65-year-old local resident, said she had turned out to celebrate Mr Mandela's legacy.
"He did the unthinkable," she said. "Mandela united black and white people and ended apartheid. I am here today to show my gratitude for what he did."
Mr Mandela, who did not join in the re-enactment, arrived at parliament in Cape Town ahead of Mr Zuma's special address to the nation.
If we really want to make a difference we must recapture the spirit of that day
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