On What Charges was Nelson Mandela Sentenced to Life Imprisonment?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Nelson Mandela was given a life sentence for sabotaging the apartheid regime of South Africa. The incident took place on June 12, 1964. On January 11, 1962, Mandela fled South Africa under the guise of David Motsamayi. He was charged with inciting a strike by his coworkers and evading immigration controls.

Charges on Nelson Mandela for Imprisonment

Mandela visited England and traveled throughout Africa to garner support for the armed effort. In July 1962, after completing his military training in Ethiopia and Morocco, he returned to South Africa.

  • He was stopped by police at a roadblock outside of Howick on August 5 as he was returning from KwaZulu-Natal, where he had briefed the ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli on his trip.
  • His coworkers charged him for inciting a strike and evading immigration controls. After being found guilty, Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison, which he began serving at the Pretoria Local Prison.
  • On May 27, 1963, he was transported to Robben Island, and on June 12, he was returned to Pretoria.
  • Within a month, police raided Liliesleaf, a hideout for ANC and Communist Party activists in Rivonia, Johannesburg, and detained a number of his comrades.
  • In what became known as the Rivonia Trial, Mandela was one of 10 defendants put on trial for sabotage on October 9, 1963.
  • His last remarks to the court during his infamous “Speech from the Dock” on April 20, 1964, were immortalized despite his being on death row.
  • Mandela and the other seven defendants – Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba, and Andrew Mlangeni – were found guilty on June 11 of that year and given life sentences the following day.
  • Due to his race, Goldberg was transported to Pretoria Prison, whereas the others were transferred to Robben Island.


On What Charges was Nelson Mandela Sentenced to Life Imprisonment?

Nelson Mandela received a life sentence for undermining South Africa’s apartheid system. The incident happened on June 12, 1964. Mandela was found guilty and was sentenced to a five-year prison term, which he started to fulfill at the Pretoria Local Prison.

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