Throughout His Life, Mandela Was An Effective Communicator

Dec 6, 2013
Originally published on December 6, 2013 10:49 am



We're remembering, this morning, the life of Nelson Mandela, who died last night in Johannesburg. He was a public and charismatic figure for more than 60 years. Let's take a few moments to revisit some of his memorable speeches.


In 1963, he went on trial in South Africa. Mandela and others in the African National Congress were accused of plotting the violent overthrown of the white minority government. And he spoke in his defense when the trial began.


NELSON MANDELA: I have cherished the idea 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. But, my Lord, if it needs be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.

MONTAGNE: Democracy, freedom and equality: ideals for which he was prepared to die. Nelson Mandela was convicted in that trial, and then jailed for 27 years. Four years after he was released in 1990, he stood before all South Africans, taking the oath of office as the country's first black president.


MANDELA: I, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, do hereby swear to be faithful to the Republic of South Africa.

INSKEEP: His 1994 election victory ended centuries of domination by South Africa's white minority.


MANDELA: Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity, and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom ring. God bless Africa. I thank you.

MONTAGNE: Nelson Mandela, after becoming South Africa's first black president. He died yesterday at the age of 95.

INSKEEP: And we will continue to hear responses to Mandela's life and death throughout today's program. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.