Intention

Nelson Mandela’s “I Am Prepared to Die Speech” focuses on black South Africans’ struggle for equal rights during the apartheid regime, touching upon universal themes such as the use of violence, discrimination, and equality.

As the speech was delivered during Mandela’s defence trial, the official intention of the speaker was to address the accusations brought against him - admitting and explaining those that were true, and rejecting those that were false.

However, the speaker’s broader intention was to expose the injustices of the apartheid system and to gain national and international support for the cause of equal …

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Defending his actions

In his speech, Nelson Mandela admits to planning sabotage with the armed group Umkhonto we Sizwe, but he denies violent attacks against people and that the ANC is influenced by foreign interests and the Communist party.

His intention is to convince the audience that while his actions were unlawful, they were justly motivated by Government oppression and increasing violence in South African society:

I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after man…

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Rejecting accusations of communism

One of Mandela's goals is to clarify the relationship between the Communist party and the ANC. The speaker wants to dismiss any allegations that he or the party he represents (ANC) are communists.

To achieve this intention, Nelson Mandela uses ethos and logos, showing the differences between the two parties “Its chief goal was, and is, for the African people to win unity and full political rights. The Communist Party's main aim, on the …

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Gaining international support for the South African cause

Because Mandela realises that black South Africans cannot fight the government alone, one of his main intentions is to convince the international audience to support equal rights in South Africa so that they would put pressure on the apartheid government.

To achieve this intention, he appeals to the authority and reputation of other people, states and organisations that already offered support to  black South Africans: “…we felt that sympathy for our cause would be roused in other countries…”; “…we received financial assistance from sympathetic individuals an…

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