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Oldest known TV footage of Mandela discovered

Published on 01/09/2016

Researchers have discovered footage believed to be the first television interview with former South African president Nelson Mandela, his memorial foundation said Thursday.

The 24-second clip, which was filmed in the late 1950s during his four-and-a-half-year trial for treason, shows a young, bearded Mandela in a suit and tie.

Standing in the capital Pretoria outside a synagogue which served as the trial courthouse, Mandela describes the aims of the African National Congress (ANC) that he led to eventual victory over apartheid rule.

“From the very beginning, the African National Congress set itself the task of fighting against white supremacy,” he says, in his distinctive calm voice.

“We have always regarded as wrong for one racial group to dominate another racial group.

“The African National Congress has fought, without hesitation, against all forms of racial discrimination and we shall continue to do so until freedom is achieved.”

Until now, it was believed the earliest television interview with Mandela was conducted in May 1961 by British broadcaster ITN.

The renowned interview showed the anti-apartheid activist in hiding, shortly after his acquittal in the treason trial.

But the newly-found footage was broadcast months earlier in January 1961, as part of a Dutch television programme on South Africa’s race-based segregation policies.

The exact date of the black and white footage, filmed when Mandela would have been about 40, is unknown.

“We are excited to have this historical material of what we now believe is the first television interview with Nelson Mandela,” said Sello Hatang, head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

After months in hiding, Mandela was captured in 1962 and was later charged with sabotage.

He spent 27 years in prison before his release in 1990, and in 1994 became president following South Africa’s first multi-racial elections.

He died in 2013 at the age of 95.