National Council for the Social Studies 2016

Mandela behind bars

Struggle for Social Justice: Mandela Puts Apartheid on Trial at Rivonia

In 1964, Nelson Mandela delivered a now-famous speech at the momentous Rivonia political trial at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, South Africa. The defendants were on trial for their lives, charged with sabotage against the apartheid regime. Rivonia has been aptly described as “The trial that changed South Africa.” Mandela’s speech, in particular, was a thought-provoking inquiry into the compelling question of what means might be justified to advance social justice.

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