THE STORY OF HOW JAJA WACHUKU SAVED NELSON MANDELA FROM DEATH PENALTY Jaja Wachuku’s significant mark in political history has made him an epitome of leadership and sportsmanship that should not go unrecognised. In 1963, Nelson Mandela along with 12 other South African politicians were arrested and convicted for sabotage after being found in Liliesleafarm Farm in Rivonia where they had been hiding for two years. At the time, Nelson Mandela had been listed as a terrorist by the U.S. government after evading the police and going into hiding since 1961. Mandela became more radical while in prison and admitted to sabotaging, but pleaded innocent to every other charge. At the trial, Mandela gave a three hour ‘I Am Prepared to Die’ Speech and was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1964. At the time, Jaja Wachuku was working as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria after serving as the first Ambassador and Paramount Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations. Through his excellent showcase of work ethics, he had gained considerable fame and respect in the United Nations as well as established strong relations with presidents of the United States between 1960 and 1963. Wachuku, who believed in what Mandela stood for and believed that he was wrongfully sentenced, intervened during his trial through the United Nations and South African government. Through Jaja Wachuku, Nelson Mandela and the 12 other political leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk, the Former State President of South Africa released him in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison. CTA: What else do you know about Jaja Wachuku?
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