President Jacob Zuma has received the digitised recordings of the Rivonia Trial in which Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. The digitized recordings was handed to him by French President Francois Hollande on Monday.
Zuma is currently in France on a state visit, in a bid to advance relations between the two countries – South Africa and France.
The audio recordings of Mandela’s court case, which took place between 1963-1964 were restored by France’s National Audiovisual Institute (INA).
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Receiving the trial recordings – which is one of the most significant political trials in South African history, Zuma thanked Hollande for digitizing the Rivonia Trial.
“I would like to thank President Hollande for the digitisation of Rivonia Trial, which will safeguard an invaluable part of South African history for generations to come.”
Mandela’s Rivonia trial pushed him to 18 years imprisonment in Robben Island. However, on February 11 1990, the struggle icon walked free from prison to lead political negotiations that paved the way for South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 and his subsequent election as the country’s first black president.
Recall that Mandela pulled down the building in one of his trial speeches. The speech, which later turned to the manifesto of the anti-apartheid movement, made waves across the shores of South Africa.
Significantly, the speech ended with the words:
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.
“It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, my lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Zuma was accompanied by a large delegation of about seven ministers. On the other hand, French President François Hollande visited SA in 2013- a time when relations between the two countries were cemented.