Summary

Nelson Mandela begins his “I Am Prepared to Die” speech by offering the Court some brief background information about being a lawyer and rejecting the accusation that black South Africans’ fight for equal rights is influenced by foreigners.

He admits that he is guilty of planning sabotage and states which issues he will address in the speech, namely his role in the Umkhonto we Sizwe organisation, the organisation’s actions, its relationship with ANC, and the part played by the Communist Party in the fight for equal rights.

The speaker denies some of the accusations against Umkhonto and proceeds to describe how the organisation was formed as a result of increasing interracial violent tensions. According to Mandela, the military organisation was an inevitable response to the developing violence which needed to be channelled to avoid chaos, and to prepare for the possibility of a racial civil war.

He describes how the organisation first defied the law through non-violent means and how they gradually targeted strategic economic infrastructure to pressure the government to grant non-white South Africans equal rights.

He describes the...

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