page 3 - Holding government to account [QVS3QJJiD5w]

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ZA COM NMPP 2009/57-56-3


Holding government to account [QVS3QJJiD5w]


  • 1993-04-22 (Creation)

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1 audio clip
In-point: 28:32
Out-point: 31:45

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Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Editor and author. Collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (published 1994). Co-producer of the documentary Mandela, 1996. Editor of TIME magazine.

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Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Rick Stengel

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Scope and content

While he was negotiating the end of apartheid and the beginning of democracy, Nelson Mandela addressed thousands of people. He travelled the world and South Africa both to gather continued support for the process and to listen to the views and concerns of his people. Here he talks about addressing a rally in 1993 and explains how he dealt with the militancy of the youth.

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Access by permission of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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Copyright held by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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  • English

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MANDELA: [LAUGHS]. I’m sorry you didn’t go to the Vaal when I went down there because you would have seen a different situation, answered a lot of questions which have been raised since our meeting in the amphitheatre. And the youth there, the paper says there were thousands of people but it was, the majority was youth. And there was wild cheering there because I said to them, ‘the youth is angry and impatient, they want to fight, we understand your anger and we would like to encourage you to fight because it is through fighting that we have reached this position. And we must therefore continue to fight even after a democratic government has been installed if it is dragging its feet from the point of view of examining the living conditions, addressing the living conditions of the people’. I say, ‘fight, therefore is our tradition, it’s the hallmark of our struggle. But we want; we are not going to give guns to individuals’. A voice said, ‘Why?’ I say, ‘because if you are going to fight in such a way as to advance the struggle, you must be a member of a military organisation, a military formation. To give guns to individuals who are not in any way related to an organisation is to encourage terrorism and the murder of innocent people. If you want us to give you guns who have to join Umkhonto weSizwe. You will be given a weapon as a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, with discipline, with guidelines. It is not Umkhonto, the ANC which will decide in what we Umkhonto should operate, against what targets, that will be the ANC, a political decision and the Umkhonto you see is a military formation, it merely carries out the decision of the ANC.’ And and I said that, ‘but with you there is even something more important. We are having difficulties with countries around our borders because the level of education on our part is very low and in order to transform Umkhonto from a guerrilla army to a regular army you need education and at least to be an officer you need to have a matric, at least. And we are having a difficulty therefore – we can’t train pilots because they have no matric, they have no mathematics, it’s very difficult. And so you will have to go to school, at least pass your matric and then when you do so you can go to the army’. That was my line.

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