"An ideal for which I am prepared to die"
|Place:||Supreme Court of South Africa|
Mid-1963, Mandela and other ANC members were arrested at Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia. They were charged with sabotage, a capital offense, to which Mandela confessed. They were also charged with treason, possession of explosives, and plotting an invasion of South Africa. The last charge Mandela denied completely. On April 20, 1964, at the Pretoria Supreme Court, Mandela detailed the justification for using violence in the ANC’s political agenda. He spoke of how the ANC had used peaceful tactics which had been met with violence. He explained that violence became necessary when all other means were unsuccessful and/or ignored. Here, we’re offering an excerpt from the speech he gave that day at the opening defence statement.
Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing. We want to be allowed to live where we obtain work and not be tossed out of an area because we were not born there. We want to be loved, to count in our own country, and to seek work where we want to and not where the labor bureau tells us to. We want a just share in the whole of South Africa. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. In these concepts, we'll live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, for which I hope, to live for, but if needs be. If it means peace, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.