Monday, April 20, 1964: 'I am prepared to die'

Charged with sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the South African government, Nelson Mandela makes a statement to the court as the defense begins its case in what is known as the Rivonia Trial. He concludes by saying:

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 idea for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

-- Image from Australian Broadcasting Commission. Caption: "These are the five points Nelson Mandela jotted down in preparation for his statement ... 1. Statement from the dock 2. I meant everything I said. 3. The blood of many patriots in this country have been shed for demanding treatment in conformity with civilized standards. 4. That army is beginning to grow. 5. If I must die, let me declare for all to know that I will meet my fate like a man."
* Text of speech (Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory): @
* "Rescuing the Rivonia Trial recordings" (British Library; includes sound clips): @
* Trial summary (The Guardian): @
* Trial summary (South African History Online): @
* "The Rivonia Trial Fifty Years Later" (South African History Online): @
* "The Nelson Mandela (Rivonia) Trial" (Douglas Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law): @
* "The State vs. Nelson Mandela" (Joel Joffe, 2007): @
* "Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa" (Kenneth S. Broun, 2012): @ 

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