Literature Study GuidesNelson Mandelas Inaugural Address

Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Address | Study Guide

Nelson Mandela

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Course Hero. "Nelson Mandela's Inaugural Address Study Guide." November 8, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2021.


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Nelson Mandela

Year Delivered



Primary Source


History, Speech

At a Glance

  • Between 1948 and 1991, South Africans lived under a formal system of racial segregation and white supremacy known as apartheid.
  • Nelson Mandela (1918–2013), an anti-apartheid leader, was tried in 1963 for sabotage, treason, and conspiracy to overthrow the government. He was sentenced to life in prison.
  • Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement became celebrated causes outside of South Africa. Many nations condemned apartheid by imposing strict economic sanctions, which crippled the South African economy.
  • Negotiations for ending apartheid began in the 1980s, and Mandela was released from prison in 1990. In 1994 he was elected as South Africa's first black president.
  • In his inaugural speech Mandela appealed to all South Africans and called for reconciliation and nation-building instead of revenge.
  • Mandela wished to inspire black South Africans and reassure white people about the future of South Africa under black-majority rule. He presented a vision of justice and security for all.
  • Mandela stressed the common bonds of all South Africans, emphasizing love for the beautiful land they share.
  • Racial tensions in South Africa eased but were not erased during Mandela's presidency (1994–1999). Yet, Mandela's practical leadership helped the country avoid a racial civil war and led to the creation of a more inclusive and democratic nation.


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