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Nelson Mandela's final comment in his "Statement at Rivonia" was: "I have cherished the...

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fatimadeharo21 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2013 at 9:03 PM via web

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Nelson Mandela's final comment in his "Statement at Rivonia" was: "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

How persuasuve is the final statement in your view? Does this type of appeal constitute a good or possibly even great ending?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 18, 2013 at 11:37 PM (Answer #1)

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In this individual's opinion, Nelson Mandela's closing statement during his and nine other leaders of the African National Congress's trial for attempting to overthrow the white-ruled government of South Africa was a beautiful sentiment entirely justified by his circumstances.  

As leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela was more than an insurgent battling an illegitimate minority government; he was the face of that movement and would become its enduring symbol right up to the present.  The dignity he displayed upon his release after more than 25 years in prison silenced his critics, many of whom feared what they believed was a dangerous militant bent on the destruction of their way of life.  The man who emerged from prison instead proceeded to do what he had envisioned from the docket during his trial in 1963: establish a legitimate democratic form of government.

White-minority rule in South Africa, the system of apartheid that enslaved the majority black population, was an affront to human dignity.  To be prepared to die in a struggle to replace such a system of governance with a democratic one is, to some, highly commendable and entirely appropriate.


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