About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The ANC calls on you - Save the Leaders!

Two-page flyer issued by the ANC, October 1963

THE PEOPLE'S LEADERS ARE ON TRIAL! Their crime? They dared to challenge White supremacy, apartheid and injustice. They were determined to struggle for a free South Africa for all, regardless of skin colour.

THE PEOPLES' LEADERS ARE IN DANCER! Vorster seeks to hang some, to imprison others indefinitely. The whole of South Africa has become a jail, with thousands imprisoned. Husbands and sons disappear; many are beaten; some die. Others are brought to trial, in White courts, with laws made by the all-White parliament, with White prosecutors and judges. Our leaders are then accused of crimes like sabotage and treason.


Today the whole world condemns South Africa, and every international organisation from the United Nations downwards, tries to exclude South African representatives of the apartheid system. Rejection of apartheid is universal, yet when we seek to end apartheid, our organisations are made illegal, our leaders are removed from us, our homes and families destroyed by apartheid policies. Is it not right and natural to fight these things? And when all other means are removed, should we not oppose force by force?

STAND BY THESE LEADERS! Vorster and Vewoerd seek to destroy them and thus destroy us all. Only we can save them. We can save them by demonstrations, strikes, mass action. Do not be afraid! The Government may seem very strong. But they are not strong. They are alone, isolated and despised by most South Africans and the whole of the rest of the world. If we, the people, really start to move, to protest? to withdraw our labour, to refuse to move when evicted, to reject being herded into Bantustans, we can MAKE APARTHEID UNWORKABLE. It only exists because of U S. We can bring the whole country to a standstill . ONLY SUCH MASS ACTION CAN SAVE MEN LIKE SISULU, MANDELA, KATHRADA, MBEKI, BERNSTEIN and the OTHERS!

PROTECT THESE LEADERS! The Government say they have been able to destroy the underground movement with the Rivonia raid. The ANC and its allies live on and fight on. Umkhonto continues to prepare for the fight and to strike at the Government. LET US PROVE THE GOVERNMENT IS WRONG BY OUR MILITANT ACTION.

SAVE THESE LEADERS! Vorster wants to terrify White South Africa, to exact his price. Whatever sentences are passed on these men will never bring our fight to an end. We still demand the right to govern ourselves, an end to pass laws and oppression and to racial discrimination. If we continue to fight for these things, we are fighting for ourselves and our children and the leaders who sacrificed themselves.

FREE THESE LEADERS! Let us show the world we are not terrorised, not passive, not indifferent, not idle. Let us raise a cry that will echo round the world - FREE THESE LEADERS! Among them are men and women of all races. We are proud of them all, Black, White, Indian and Coloured. We will be united to fight apartheid in every possible way to the very end.

The AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS calls on you to organise now to save the Peoples' leaders - Smash Apartheid Tyranny


WHITE MAN - You are on trial . . .

The Government is putting the 'Rivonia' men on trial. Vorster claims he has caught the 'trouble-makers' ....


Vorster seeks the death sentence for some of them, imprisonment for the rest....


The prosecution will make your flesh creep with stories of 'hellish' military plots, sabotage, threats to the safety of the state.... WHITE MAN - DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?

LET US TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANS. . . South Africa is in the first stage of civil war. Apartheid has brought that war. Over 3,000 men and women, mostly Africans, but including all races, are in jails for resisting apartheid. More will be tried. They come from all over South Africa. They are not criminals. Most of them are people of the highest integrity, intelligence and courage, gentle and compassionate, vitally concerned with problems of justice and freedom. In any normal society these people would be the rulers.

Our land is not normal. Violence is used every day against our people. They are violently uprooted by the tens of thousands and turned out of their homes. Families are violently divided, people are deprived of the right to decent wages, proper education, normal homes. Our organisations are violently suppressed, our leaders forcibly removed from us. We have been deprived of every legal, every legitimate means of protest.

When the Government wants to do something that conflicts with the rule of law, they pass a law to make it 'legal' . Then basest injustice becomes the law, and all those who oppose it become saboteurs. The Government prepares for open war against the people, training and arming every White man and woman, teaching schoolgirls to shoot, and schoolboys to fight the Black man, creating an atmosphere of fear and war.

.... ALL THIS IN THE NAME OF 'PRESERVING WHITE CIVILISATION'. All that is worthwhile in civilisation is being destroyed in South Africa. What are you trying to preserve?

WHITE MAN - THE WORLD IS AGAINST YOU! There is not an international gathering today, whether it is health, tourism, atomic energy or sport, where S. Africans are wanted. They are ostracised & despised everywhere. Even the United Nations itself adjourns in protest against the policies of White South Africa. You think the world doesn't understand our policies? They understand them too well. The principles on which apartheid is built were rejected when Hitler was defeated.

STOP AND THINK! Not only is apartheid opposed by the world - the majority of South Africans also oppose it. Do you really believe that Vorster and Verwoerd are the infallible leaders of all civilisation? That they are right and MOST of South Africa and the WHOLE of the rest of the world wrong? Do you really believe that by taking bitter reprisals against those who seek to end this Tyranny, like the Rivonia people, that you are safeguarding your children's future?

If these leaders die in Vorster's hands - you, White man, and all your family, stand in mortal danger. We are pledged to fight for freedom to the very end. With this trial you will never destroy saboteurs - there are 13 million of us - but you will destroy yourself, your safety, your future. We swear to stand by them at all costs - and the costs will be YOURS!

It is not treason to seek to overthrow and destroy a govt. that does not rule in the interests of the majority. It is not treason to seek to end the dictatorship of Verwoerd and Vorster. But it IS treason to remain silent in the face of evil. The Rivonia people did no more than the people of America, Israel, France, Cuba - all those who have ever opposed wrong and fought for freedom.

Before it is too late - help save these leaders! Reject apartheid! Let your conscience speak!

Prove to the world, and to us Black people, that there is some honour and decency left among the White people.

WE WARN YOU - WE WILL NEVER GIVE IN. The longer this goes on, the more everyone will suffer.

WHITE MAN - YOU ARE ON TRIAL BEFORE THE EYES OF THE WORLD. What is there left for you to plead?


This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.