Nelson Mandela walks free from jail in 1990, a scene etched in South Africa's collective memory.
On Friday, the celebrated former president was spending a second day in hospital after being admitted with a recurring lung infection.
The government says Mandela is responding well to treatment, but will remain in hospital under observation.
Locals in Soweto expressed their hopes for Mandela's recovery.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, MKOTSENG NTHOLENG, SAYING:
"Yes, he's going to be ok, he's a hero, he's a good fighter, he will be fine and be healed."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, OUPA RADEBE, SAYING:
"He has done a lot for us. He's an icon today, we are free today because of him. I think if maybe Mr Mandela can pass away, so many things will mess up."
Mandela spent nearly three weeks in hospital in December with a lung infection and for surgery to remove gallstones.
It was his longest stay in hospital since his release from prison where he served 27 years for attempting to overthrow the white-minority apartheid government.
South Africa's ailing Mandela making progress (1:10)
Mar. 29 - Former South African President, Nelson Mandela spends second night in hospital, making progress. Lily Grimes reports. ( Transcript )