Video: Nelson Mandela, first TV interview, 1961

The interview was conducted while Mandela was underground and being hunted by the police. It is noteworthy for various reasons. In referring to the franchise, the interviewer refers to formal education as a requirement for political activity and Mandela makes it very clear that black people in South Africa understood their political aspirations, whether or not they had access to formal education, then generally denied under apartheid. The interview may also be the first time that Mandela indicates that the response of the apartheid regime was compelling the liberation movement to reconsider its previous commitment to purely non-violent forms of resistance.

Around this time, not having any idea who Mandela was, I used to catch the bus at the Cape Town parade to go to my school, which was in Newlands. There used to be notices at the bus stop referring to ‘any meeting in regard to Nelson Mandela.’ I did not know what that was about although I was fairly politically conscious. But I like many other whites was then cut off from what the ANC had to say

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