Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1962 – Building ANC support in free Africa

As the ANC entered the more assertive struggle of the 1960s, Nelson Mandela – now nationally notorious among the white South African public – started to raise funds and build support among the leaders of newly-independent African countries.

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy
Nelson Mandela’s Ethiopian passport

Against the new background of rising militancy and the embrace of armed struggle, the ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Traveling there in secret, Mandela met with Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gave his speech after Selassie’s at the conference. After the conference, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt, admiring the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then went to Tunis, Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba gave him £5000 for weaponry.

He proceeded to Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from Liberian President William Tubman and Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré. Leaving Africa for London, England, he met anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians. Returning to Ethiopia, he began a six-month course in guerrilla warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to South Africa.

On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with Cecil Williams near Howick. Jailed in Johannesburg’s Marshall Square prison, he was charged with inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Representing himself with Slovo as legal advisor, Mandela intended to use the trial to showcase “the ANC’s moral opposition to racism” while supporters demonstrated outside the court. Moved to Pretoria, where Winnie could visit him, in his cell he began correspondence studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of London. His hearing began on 15 October, but he disrupted proceedings by wearing a traditional kaross, refusing to call any witnesses, and turning his plea of mitigation into a political speech. Found guilty, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; as he left the courtroom, supporters sang Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika. 


Read more about Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy:

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1961 — Umkhonto weSizwe readies itself for armed resistance

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1960 – Sharpeville opens the ‘silent Sixties’

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1955: The Freedom Charter and its aftermath

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1953: In search of a ‘Freedom Charter’ for the Struggle

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | Early Apartheid and the start of resistance 1947-1949 

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | Marriage, Family…and the ANCYL 1944-1947

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | The Early years in Johannesburg: ’40-’43

Nelson Mandela’s Living Legacy | Clarkebury, Healdtown and Fort Hare: ‘36-’40

Mandela’s Living Legacy | 1918-1928: The herdboy becomes a Thembu prince