Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On This Day In History

On this day in 1964, Nelson Mandela stood before the Supreme Court in Pretoria, South Africa, against the urgings of his lawyer, and made the following statement before being sent to prison for twenty-seven years:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live and to see realised. But, my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

2 comments:

Rethabile said...

Yes, and his lawyer was particularly negative about that last thought. And Mandela was insistent on putting it in.

Changeseeker said...

Greetings, Rethabile! I love your (new? newish?) icon.

Indeed, Mandela's frankness under duress has served as a template for me in my own personal and political development. In one section of his statement to the court, he outlines how the White Supremacist system in South Africa actually forced the ANC to turn to blowing things up by making it impossible to seek legal redress for their grievances or even draw attention to their plight any other way. I use it as a prime example in my discussion of the process of social change at the close of my Introductory Sociology courses.