Video shows Nelson Mandela's first television interview

Nelson Mandela, then-president of the African National Congress, left, speaks with a teacher sometime in 1964.

Story highlights

  • The video shows Mandela in an interview during his treason trial
  • Mandela later became president of South Africa in 1994

Johannesburg (CNN)The grainy footage is just 24 seconds long, but the freedom fighter's message comes through loud and clear.

"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," says a 40-ish bearded Nelson Mandela, in what is believed to be his first-ever television interview.
    The Nelson Mandela Foundation, dedicated to preserving Mandela's legacy, discovered the clip and says it was most likely filmed during a break at his trial on treason charges, which lasted from 1956 to 1961.
    The clip was first aired on January 31, 1961 by AVRO, a television station in the Netherlands. Mandela and dozens of others were acquitted on March 29, 1961.
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    The man who would later be imprisoned for 27 years for political offenses and go on to become president in post-apartheid South Africa appears to have been responding to questions from an interviewer outside the Old Synagogue in Pretoria, which was used as a court for the trial.
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    "From the beginning, the African National Congress set itself the task of fighting against white supremacy," Mandela said in a calm, measured tone, wearing a three-piece suit and tie.
    Days after he was acquitted in 1961, Mandela would go underground until he was again arrested by the apartheid regime in 1962 and sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island.
    Before the discovery of the trial interview, it was previously believed that Mandela's first television interview was in May of 1961, while he was in hiding.
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    "It's a fantastic find," said Neeran Naidoo, the Mandela foundation's director of communications. "I'm sure there's a lot more to find. I'm sure there were other clips too. People didn't realize the significance at the time."
    Mandela led the ANC through the struggle against apartheid and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The following year, he was elected president and served for five years.
    He died in 2013 at the age of 95.