Madiba's first known television interview comes to light

Cape Town – New footage has emerged of the late president Nelson Mandela speaking with a journalist in 1956, five years earlier than what was thought to have been his first television interview.

It was previously believed that the freedom fighter's first televised interview was with British journalist Brian Widlake while he was underground in May 1961.

Challenging this is footage believed to have been filmed during a break at the 1956 Treason Trial.

The short black-and-white clip shows a smartly-dressed Mandela answering questions at the Old Synagogue in Pretoria. The venue was used as a court.

Mandela told the camera, "From the very beginning, the African National Congress set itself the task of fighting against white supremacy. We have always regarded it as wrong for one racial group to dominate another racial group," he said.

"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."

Historical material

Neither the interviewer, nor the exact date of the interview, was known at this stage.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said on Thursday that a Netherlands broadcaster, AVRO, transmitted the video on January 31, 1961.

The rights holder, AVROTROS, waived its licence fee for the foundation and authorised that it could use it for a year.

Zanele Riba, the foundation's archivist, said they were excited to have in their hands such historical material.

The footage was included in a programme on apartheid South Africa, called Boeren en Bantoes. Among those interviewed were anti-apartheid activists Ahmed Kathrada and Helen Joseph.

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