Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa

Paperback | October 14, 2015

byKenneth S. Broun

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The question was: would he hang? In 1963, when South Africa's apartheid government charged Nelson Mandela with planning its overthrow, most observers feared that he would be sentenced to death. But the support he and his fellow activists in the African National Congress received during his trial not only saved his life, but alsoenabled him to save his country. In Saving Nelson Mandela, South African law expert Kenneth S. Broun recreates the trial, called the "Rivonia" Trial after the Johannesburg suburb where police seized Mandela. Based upon interviews with many of the case's primary figures and portions of the trial transcript, Broun situates readersinside the courtroom at the imposing Palace of Justice in Pretoria. Here, the trial unfolds through a dramatic narrative that captures the courage of the accused and their defense team, as well as the personal prejudices that colored the entire trial. The Rivonia trial had no jury and only asuperficial aura of due process, combined with heavy security that symbolized the apartheid government's system of repression. Broun shows how outstanding advocacy, combined with widespread public support, in fact backfired on apartheid leaders, who sealed their own fate. Despite his 27-year incarceration, Mandela's ultimate release helped move his country from the racial tyranny of apartheid toward democracy. As documented in this inspirational book, the Rivonia trial was a critical milestone that helped chart the end of Apartheid and the future of a new SouthAfrica.

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The question was: would he hang? In 1963, when South Africa's apartheid government charged Nelson Mandela with planning its overthrow, most observers feared that he would be sentenced to death. But the support he and his fellow activists in the African National Congress received during his trial not only saved his life, but alsoenabled...

Kenneth S. Broun is the Henry Brandis Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of North Carolina Law School. Since 1986, he has traveled regularly to South Africa to conduct programs in trial advocacy training through the Black Lawyers Association of South Africa.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 14, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199361282

ISBN - 13:9780199361281

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Customer Reviews of Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An insight into one of South Africa's most significant trials You might expect that a book by a law professor about a trial would be full of legal jargon and something only a lawyer could understand and appreciate. Nine times out of 10 you would be right. This book is the tenth. Written in plain language, it explains the 1963 - 1964 trial in South Africa of Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in a way that places you squarely inside the courtroom, able to observe close-up all participants. You are able to understand the case for the prosecution, and that of the defence, and the court's decision. The trial is shown to have been fair from a legal point-of-view, and the convictions unavoidable on the basis of the documentary evidence and the accused's own admissions. The problem was with the laws under which the accused were charged. They made convictions almost certain. They also made a sentence of death highly probable. Still, the death penalty was avoided through a combination of factors including excellent legal representation, international pressure (not on the court itself, but of which the court would have been nonetheless aware) and the realization that the accused were champions of freedom and democracy and had been driven to consider violence (although not yet agreeing to it) as a very last resort in their fight against a racist government. And the rest is history.
Date published: 2012-06-20

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Trial Begins2. Arrests and Escapes3. The Lawyers and the Judge4. South Africa and the World React5. Preparing for Trial6. A Pyrrhic Victory7. The Case for the Prosecution8. Mandela Speaks to the Court9. The Other Defendants Make Their Case10. Arguments11. Pressures from Outside the Courtroom12. Judgment and Sentencing13. South Africa and the World React14. Thinking About the Judgment and Sentence15. Life After the Rivonia Trial16. What Rivonia Meant for South Africa and the WorldPrimary SourcesOther SourcesNotes

Editorial Reviews

"A well-written account of an important moment in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa... a valuable resource for course use, not only in legal history in Africa, but for courses on the role of law in social change." --Mary Dudziak, author of War Time