November 25th, 2007


Nelson Mandela – I am prepared to die (07-055)

Nelson Mandela – I am prepared to die (07-055)

Strolling in the souvenir shop on Robben Island, this is the book I buy. I could have bought Mandela’s autobiography, but it seems to heavy to carry around in my backpack. And having visited the Mandela museum (Mthatha), seen his house in Soweto and today’s tour of Robben island, I think I know enough.

What interests me though are the days just before he went to prison for over thirty years. This pamphlet exactly suits my curiosity.

Extracts from two trials, the last one famous for his last words, often quoted and therefore chosen as title of this booklet. For insiders: Gandhi was famous for this quote: “For this cause I too am prepared to die, but for no cause, my friend, will I be prepared to kill.” And with Apartheid ruling in South Africa so long, this title was published in London and banned in South Africa during the rule of the Apartheid system.

Quote from page 15 (1962 trial): “I am charged with inciting people to commit an offense by way of protest against the law, a law which neither I nor any of my people had any say in preparing.”

Page 48 (1964 trial): “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself 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 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.”

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Number: 07-055
Title: I am prepared to die
Author: Nelson Mandela
Language: English
Year: 1979
# Pages: 52 (9996)
Category: Politics
ISBN: 0-904759-29-6

The second speech can be found on the web: here