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Nelson Mandela Release

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 13 September 2009

Sue MacGregor presents the series which reunites a group of people intimately involved in a moment of modern history.

Sue gathers together the core negotiators and key campaigners involved in the secret talks which ultimately led to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

She is joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who led the Free Mandela Campaign throughout the 1980s; Dr Niel Barnard, who was the head of South Africa's National Intelligence Service and who had dozens of clandestine meetings with Mandela; Professor Willie Esterhuyse, an Afrikaner academic who liaised between the government and the ANC; Aziz Pahad, who was a core member of the ANC and led many of its delegations; former President Thabo Mbeki, who was a lead negotiator for the ANC; and journalist and political commentator Allister Sparks, who chronicled the negotiations in a revealing book.

Former President FW de Klerk also contributes to the programme, describing the surprise that he and other cabinet figures felt when they learnt of the years of secret meetings.

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.


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