Rare interview of Nelson Mandela from 1956 Treason Trial surfaces

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South AfricaUpdated: Sep 02, 2016, 05:56 PM IST

A grab of Nelson Mandela from his interview in 1961 uploaded by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Photograph:(WION)

South Africa's late anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela speaks about his party, the African Congress's, fight against racism in a 24-second video from the famous "1956 Treason Trial."

In the footage made public by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a bearded Mandela wearing a grey suit and tie and standing before a plain paneled wall says, "From the very beginning, the African National Congress set itself the task of fighting against white supremacy," referring to the anti-apartheid crusade that he went on to lead.

"We have always regarded as wrong for one racial group to dominate another racial group. And from the very beginning 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," he adds. 

The Nelson Mandela Foundation says that the 24-second footage was probably filmed during the "1956 Treason Trial" which was named after the date of the suspects' arrest but ran until 1961. It ended with the acquittals of Mandela and his co-accused on charges of treason. The interview took place at the Old Synagogue in Pretoria, where the Treason Trial was held and was broadcast on January 31, 1961 by a Netherlands television broadcaster, AVRO.

Previously, the first television interview with Mandela was thought to have been conducted in May 1961, when he was in hiding. He would subsequently be arrested in 1962 and was only released from prison in 1990. 

Mandela, who died in 2013 aged 95, became South Africa's first black president in 1994. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his efforts to promote reconciliation in his racially scarred nation. The African Congress has been South Africa's ruling party since the end of apartheid in 1994

(WION with inputs from Reuters)