On Oct 29th, YSJU welcomed Sarah Slater to deliver a talk as part of Black History Month. Staff and students gained valuable knowledge about Mandela, his life and his works.
By Hannah Darley
As part of Black History Month, Sarah Slater, from Oxford Brookes University gave an inspirational and moving lecture on the activism and life of Nelson Mandela. Mandela and South African history were the focus of Slater’s doctoral studies.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), former president of South Africa, is also widely known for being a philanthropist, activist political leader. Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
Slater’s tireless research into Mandela was evident when she described the activism that Mandela was a part of, such as the Banning of the ANC, which concluded with The Mandela Plan. This particular event happened on 8 April 1960 when the administration of Charles Robberts Swart banned the ANC (African National Congress – a group Mandela was a part of) throughout South Africa.
The ANC, founded in 1912, was a governing political party which was also the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa taking place after the 1994 election that Mandela won. The main aim of this group was to bring all Africans together as one and to defend their freedom and rights.
Slater discussed the Rivionia Trial, which took place in 1963-64 and resulted in eight South African men being sentenced to life including Mandela, Lionel Bernstein and Denis Goldberg. They were arrested at Lillesleaf farm which was previously used as a hideout for people including the ANC, and Mandela.
Mandela consequently spent 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Victor Verster Prison and Pollsmoor Prison.
The Riviona Trial was also named “the trail that changed South Africa.” Mandela made a speech whilst on trial, and condemned the court he was appearing in as ‘illegitimate.’ People outside the trial were shouting “Free Mandela!”
Slater finished with possibly the most heart wrenching part of the talk, with words from Nelson Mandela himself via a YouTube video.
He said: “It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”
I think we can all agree that Mandela was a profoundly inspirational man who fought his entire life for change.
From all of YSJ, thanks so much, Sarah. You did an excellent job in delivering a speech about a man everyone should be knowledgeable about.