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South Africa Inaugurates Nelson Mandela Bridge - 2003-07-20


Former South African President Nelson Mandela has opened a landmark bridge linking white and black communities in Johannesburg.

Mr. Mandela cut the ribbon Sunday on the suspension bridge carrying his name, saying he felt very humbled. Mr. Mandela said the bridge was a symbol of all the people who fought to end the country's racist apartheid regime.

The event comes at the end of a weekend birthday celebration for the former leader, who turned 85 on Friday.

Saturday, about 1,600 guests attended a banquet in Mr. Mandela's honor, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Other guests at the banquet included Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, South African President Thabo Mbeki and South Africa's last white president, F.W. de Klerk, who released Mr. Mandela from prison.

Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in jail for fighting South Africa's racist system of apartheid and then became the first black president of his country.

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