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CBC Digital Archive
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Canada and the Fight Against Apartheid

  • CA CBC-DA MR-RT-145
  • Collection
  • 1960 - 1999
  • Part of Rivonia Trial

Series of radio and television reports on South Africa broadcast from the 1960s through the first democratic elections in 1994. Items related to the Rivonia Trial are:
-Escaped lawyer describes apartheid's brutal laws (from CBC Radio, Nov. 17, 1964): Harold Wolpe defended oppressed blacks until he was imprisoned. Guest: Harold Wolpe, host: Bob Wilson, narrator: Paul Wright, duration: 25:57
-Mandela and seven colleagues sentenced colleagues sentenced (from CBC Radio, National Radio News, June 12, 1964): Reporter Patrick Keatley is in London to explain why the defendants likely avoided a death sentence. Host: Alex Trebek, reporter: Patrick Keatley, duration: 2:58.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

ANC legalised Mandela to be released

South African president F.W. de Klerk shocked the world with the announcement that the government will lift the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and free imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Apartheid system remains for now, but South Africans are jubilant with this dramatic break from the past and the promise a new South Africa.

Nelson Mandela released

For 27 years, six months and six days Nelson Mandela was a prisoner and a symbol of Apartheid's oppression. Today, he is a free man and the world is celebrating. From Soweto's giant party, to exiles, to the prime minister's office on Parliament Hill, CBC reporters capture the global festivities.

Nelson Mandela addresses Canadian Parliament

After 27 years in prison, the world's most famous political prisoner is free. Nelson Mandela, vice President of the African National Congress, is released from prison on February 11, 1990 and plunges into an international campaign to end apartheid in his native South Africa. Four months later, Mandela travels to Canada and delivers a speech at a joint session of Parliament.

The end of Apartheid

South Africa's era as an international pariah is over. Tonight, Canada and other nations lift most of the remaining sanctions against South Africa, and welcome it back into the international community. They do so at the behest of Nelson Mandela and President F.W. de Klerk, who ask world leaders to recognize the progress South Africa has made on its journey towards multiracial democracy. Fundraising in order to pave the way for free and democratic South Africa and to avoid "another Somalia, another Bosnia."

In South Africa with Nelson Mandela

Interview with Nelson Mandela released after spending 27 years in prison. Barbara Frum interviews Nelson Mandela. Frum is moved by Nelson Mandela' dignity and stature

South African Sanctions Lifted

It's a turning point in South Africa's turbulent history. In light of that nation's progress towards ending apartheid, African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela has asked the world to lift economic sanctions against his country.

CBC Digital Archives

Mandela and seven colleagues imprisoned

Nelson Mandela and seven colleagues face life imprisonment in South Africa." That's the fate of eight African National Congress leaders, tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to violently overthrow South Africa's apartheid government. The trial lasted eight months and attracted worldwide attention. In this 1964 radio report from CBC National News, reporter Patrick Keatley is in London to explain why the defendants likely avoided a death sentence.

Nelson Mandela and seven colleagues face life imprisonment in South Africa." The eight African National Congress leaders, tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to violently overthrow South Africa's apartheid government. The trial lasted eight months and attracted worldwide attention. In this 1964 radio report from CBC National News, reporter Patrick Keatley is in London to explain why the defendants likely avoided a death sentence. "The sentence of life imprisonment is a deft stroke by the nationalist government," he concludes. "Certainly it thrusts aside some of the tremendous world horror and political pressure which otherwise would have immediately built up against South Africa."
Mandela and seven colleagues imprisoned
The Rivonia trial was named after the suburb of Johannesburg where 19 African National Congress leaders were arrested at Liliesleaf Farm on July 11, 1963. Mandela was already in custody, having been sentenced to five years in prison in October 1962 for inciting a workers' strike a year earlier.
• At Liliesleaf, the South African government discovered documents belonging to the group Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), a military wing of the ANC. They described plans for attack and guerrilla warfare.
• Several ANC leaders used Liliesleaf as a hideout, and Nelson Mandela himself moved there in 1961. Using the name David Motsamayi (meaning "the walker") he evaded police by masquerading as a cook and gardener. The farm was owned by co-defendant Arthur Golderich, a South African abstract painter and a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement.
• In addition to Mandela, the other ANC leaders charged were Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Ahmed Kathrada, Billy Nair, Denis Goldberg, Lionel "Rusty" Bernstein, Bob Hepple, Harold Wolpe, James "Jimmy" Kantor and Golderich.
• This CBC Radio clip notes that six of the defendants were black, but this appears to be incorrect. Goldberg, Bernstein, Hepple and Golderich were white Jews, while Nair and Kathrada were Indian. This leaves five men - Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Motsoaledi and Mhlaba - who were black
• Those found guilty on all four counts were Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Motsoaledi, Mlangeni, Goldberg and Mhlaba. Kathrada was found guilty on one count of conspiracy. Bernstein was acquitted but was rearrested, released on bail and placed under house arrest. He later fled the country.
• Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (mentioned in this clip as Dr. Verwoerd) was prime minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966. He is called the "Architect of Apartheid" because he broadened existing policies that restricted the black Bantu African nationals' mobility while he was minister of native affairs in the early 1950s. In September 1966, he was stabbed four times in the chest by a uniformed parliamentary messenger names Dmitri Tsafendas. The motive for the murder was unclear.

CBC National News

Nelson Mandela: Prisoner, president, peacemaker

Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela's life began in a tiny village in South Africa, which he describes as "removed from the world of great events." It was the start of a life that would not only take part in great events, but help shape them. His extraordinary life has led him from being branded a terrorist in his own country and a 27-year imprisonment to taking office as South Africa's first democratically elected president and becoming an international symbol of peace and social justice.

CBC Digital Archives