Dec 06 2013

Nelson Mandela in His Own Voice

The legendary South African liberation fighter and former President Nelson Mandela died last night at 8:50 pm in Johannesburg.

Madiba, as he was affectionately known was a revolutionary leader and the President of the African National Congress, and became an icon of the anti-apartheid movement particularly during his decades in prison on Robben Island.

Upon his release he ran for election, becoming the first democratically elected President in the nation and the first Black leader of that nation and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Despite his great influence, some considered him and terrorist, and the United States only removed him from a terrorist watch list in 2008. He was also unpopular for expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause (many have likened Israeli occupation to apartheid South Africa).

Mandela inspired generations of activists with his work and what he symbolized, not just to South Africans but the world. After his tenure as President ended, he spent the remainder of his life doing charity work and addressing his nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.

His personal and family life was often tumultuous though, with various relatives involved in embarrassingly public feuds in the last few years.

Today, in commemorating his life, we play for you Mandela’s own voice in two excerpts from audio recordings.

The first is from the award winning documentary Mandela: An Audio History hosted by Desmond Tutu, produced by Joe Richman and Sue Johnson.

The second is from a recording of an event featuring Nelson Mandela at the Oakland Coliseum, on 30 June 1990, during a tour of the United States, shortly after he was released from prison. This recording is preserved in the Pacifica Radio Archives (and can be ordered through 1800-735-0230).

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