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First Video Interview of Mandela Discovered After 60 Years  

The 24-second clip was filmed during a break at the infamous 1956 Treason Trial which lasted four and half years.

Published
World
2 min read
The 24-second clip was filmed during a break at the infamous 1956 Treason Trial which lasted four-and-a-half years. (Photo: iStockphoto)

Anti-apartheid revolutionary African leader Nelson Mandela’s first known television interview has been discovered almost 60 years after it was recorded, The Nelson Mandela Foundation has said.

The 24-second clip was filmed during a break at the infamous 1956 Treason Trial which lasted four-and-a-half years.

The interview was conducted at the Old Synagogue in Pretoria which was used as a court for the Treason Trial.

Mandela was one of the last group of the 28 accused in the marathon trial who were acquitted on 29 March, 1961.

Days later, Mandela went underground until his arrest on 5 August, 1962, which ultimately saw him spend 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island, before becoming the first democratically-elected President of South Africa.

The recently resurfaced video was broadcast on 31 January, 1961 by a Netherlands television broadcaster, AVRO.

It was included in a programme on apartheid South Africa called ‘Boeren en Bantoes’ (‘Boers and Bantus’, the references to white and black South Africans used during the apartheid era).

It is unclear who conducted the interview and the exact date was not immediately available.

We are excited to have this historical material of what we now believe is the first television interview with Nelson Mandela. It was previously believed the first television interview was done while Nelson Mandela was underground in late May 1961.
Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation

British journalist Brian Widlake was taken to his secret hide-out in Johannesburg for the interview.

The rights holder, AVROTROS, has waived its licence fee for the Nelson Mandela Foundation and has authorised it to use the clip for one year.

Mandela died on 5 December, 2013, aged 95.

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