The great Nelson Mandela has died. The following are words that he said at his trial in 1964.

I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. I deny that Umkhonto was responsible for a number of acts which clearly fell outside the policy of the organisation, and which have been charged in the indictment against us. I, and the others who started the organisation, felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government. We chose to defy the law.

We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence. (more…)

After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela came out a proud, forgiving man. If there was bitterness I didn’t see it. He made it possible for the truth and reconciliation committee to take place. It was this committee that made it possible for the South African country to heal. Mandela was a truly remarkable man who changed the world.