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Found: The First Television Interview Nelson Mandela Ever Gave

During the Treason Trial of the late 1950s, Mandela spoke to a reporter about ANC goals.

Mandela spoke to an unknown reporter about ANC goals. (Photo: AVROTROS footage)

In the 1956, more than 150 people belonging to an anti-apartheid coalition were arrested in South Africa and tried for treason. One of them was Nelson Mandela. Sometime during the trial, which lasted for almost five years, Mandela gave a short interview—to whom is not clear—about the goals of the African National Congress.

That interview was broadcast by a Dutch TV company in January 1961, then completely forgotten. For many years, the first televised interview with Mandela was thought to be from May 1961, when a British journalist interviewed Mandela from Johannesburg, where the ANC leader had gone into hiding.

But recently the Nelson Mandela Foundation found the footage of this earlier interview. It’s just 24 seconds. There’s no indication of exactly when it was filmed; since it shows the building in Pretoria that served as a courthouse during the Treason Trial, it’s presumably from the time of the trial. 

Watch the young Mandela say his short piece:

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