Up Close and Personal with Nelson Mandela’s Defence Lawyer

George Bizos' stunning autobiography, 'Odyssey to Freedom'

‘Early in the afternoon of 11 July 1963, a fine winter’s day, the telephone rang in my chambers.

‘I heard a coin drop into the call box and then the muffled voice of Harold Wolpe. He named a corner in the city centre and asked me to meet him there.
‘Our meeting place was outside a bookshop and I found him staring intently into the window at the books on display.

‘He didn’t turn round when I greeted him but pointed at a book.

‘We stood side by side, facing away from the pedestrians while he whispered that the leadership of the ANC had been arrested at its Rivonia headquarters and that he was going into hiding.

‘He handed me a file, asked me to find some excuse for his absence from court, and to report what had happened to his brother-in-law and partner, James Kantor.

‘I was not to see Wolpe again until he returned from exile almost thirty years later.’ (p.204)

In his autobiography ‘Odyssey to Freedom’, Nelson Mandela’s defence lawyer takes us on a journey on the inside of the legal processes and secret ANC meetings that ultimately led to democracy in South Africa. It is a tremendous story of how one modern day ‘Daniel’ helped influence a nation towards freedom.

Full the full book review and article on xenophobia, and how we, as Christians, should regard foreigners in our home countries click here

© 2011 Church History Blog / Lex Loizides

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