January 11, 2014

On this day January 11th...

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

Early in 1962 Nelson Mandela was smuggled across the borders of South Africa as David Motsamayi and on the 11th of January made a surprise appearance at the Pan-African Freedom Movement Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mandela's address to the conference took place a few weeks after the first sabotage attacks were committed by uMkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) known as MK, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In his speech he clarified and justified the turn to the armed struggle. During this trip, Mandela received guerrilla training from Emperor Haile Sellassie 1st. before traveling to London where he met leaders of British opposition parties.

He returned to South Africa in July, and on 5 August was arrested near Howick in Natal. Mandela was tried in Pretoria's Old Synagogue and during this trial he decided to conduct his own defense with Bob Hepple acting as his legal representative. He also applied for the recusal of the magistrate because as a white person he was already an interested party and therefore not impartial. He also pointed out that he was not obligated to obey the laws of a white parliament, which did not represent him, and the rest of Black South Africans.

In November 1962, Mandela was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for incitement and illegally leaving the country. He served this sentence on Robben Island. While Mandela was in prison, police raided the underground headquarters of the African National Congress at Lillies Leaf Farm, Rivonia, arresting, among others, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Dennis Goldberg, Lionel Bernstein and Bob Hepple.

Police found documents relating to the manufacture of explosives, Mandela's diary of his African tour and copies of a draft memorandum - 'Operation Mayibuye' - which outlined a possible strategy of a guerrilla struggle.

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