Nelson Mandela delivered his “I Am Prepared to Die” speech in front of the Court at the Rivonia Trial in 1964. The speech was recorded but it was not broadcast. The recordings of the speech were only released to the national archives in 1994, and were first made public in 2003-2004.

Furthermore, the South African State tried to prevent those who had written copies of the speech from making it public. The speech was not published in print until several years after it was delivered.

However, Mandela’s intention was to reach both the national and the international audience with his speech, and encourage them to support the movement for equal rights in South Africa.

Officially, the speaker only addresses the court directly, often in a critical manner: “It may not be easy for this Court to understand, but it is a fact that for a long time the people had been talking of violence…”; “I shall now tell the Court how that form of violence came to be determined.”

The Court represents the state, and by extension Mandela’s address is a critique of the South African government. The speaker wants to expose the violation of ...

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