Background: Nelson Mandela`s Address on his release from prison The evening before his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela had a secret meeting with South African President F.W. de Klerk explaining that Mandela would be a free man the next day, making good on a pledge the president had made a week earlier, though without setting the exact date. Apartheid was still the law of the land, but de Klerk had declared sweeping changes that were rapidly dismantling the system of racial segregation. South Africans, black and white, knew their country was about to undergo major change. The black majority of South Africa saw Mandela as their deliverance from more than three centuries of white domination. Many whites on the other hand feared his release could unleash an explosive civil war. Mandela was seen as the hope for South Africa when in reality only a few people had seen or heard from Mandela in the past quarter century. Mandela disappeared from the spotlight in 1964 after giving a four-hour speech at his sabotage trial, where he was convicted and received a life sentence. He spent most of his prison term on Robben Island consuming his time with manual labor. The government, attempted to diminish his reputation, never released photos of Mandela during his years of captivity. There was some concern about the type of leaders Mandela would be to a new generation of activist. The day of Mandela’s release a crowd of some 100,000 squeezed into the Grand Parade grounds outside Cape Town's City Hall. Mandela's journey from prison to City Hall came to a standstill as his car approached downtown Cape Town and was mobbed by supporters. Rather than continue into the crowd with his car, Mandela drove to his lawyer’s home. Several hours after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first speech on the balcony of Cape Town's City Hall. As he prepared to speak, he realized he had left his glasses in the prison. So he borrowed a pair from his wife Winnie. Mandela spoke connecting with the black crowd that worshipped him, while taking the first steps to win over skeptical whites. After speaking for 30 minutes, Mandela was whisked away. He wanted to spend his first night of freedom among black South Africans, yet for security reasons, he was taken to Desmond Tutu's home which was officially a whites-only neighborhood. South Africa had many difficult days ahead with political violence that would claim more than 10,000 lives over the next four years. Negotiations between de Klerk's government and Mandela's ANC stalled and broke down many times before the country's first all-race election that elevated Mandela to the presidency in 1994. On that summer's day in 1990, South Africa entered a new era, and Nelson Mandela was the man who led the way.
In what way is Mandela greeting the crowd and why is it important to the future of South Africa?
What is your impression of Mandela based on his greeting to the crowd? (give an example from the passage to support your answer)
Why does Mandela think apartheid has no future in South Africa?
What does Mandela claim to be the consequence of apartheid in South Africa?
Give an example of what Mandela mentions as a task that must be done to move past apartheid in South Africa
Nelson Mandela`s Address on his release from prison
Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.
On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.
Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organisation and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The destruction caused by apartheid on our sub-continent is in- calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.
The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organisation and to allow the democratic structures to decide. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.
What type of government is Mandela trying to promote in his speech and how can the people of South Africa help him achieve it?
What are ways democracy can be achieved in South Africa? (provide an example for the text)
Examine the final quote stated by Mandela in 1964 while on trial what is Mandela willing to die for?
Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts.
It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime. To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid.
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters` role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.
In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are true today as they were then:
`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 live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.`
Summary: What message is Mandela sending to the people of South Africa? Provide one example from the text to support your answer.