"What happened at Liliesleaf Farm?
At the farm, they held key debates on political and military policy and strategy. It was at Liliesleaf farm that the most prominent leaders of South Africa’s struggle against Apartheid sought shelter, and attended meetings. Some of these included Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Bram Fischer, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Raymond Mhaba, Rusty Bernstein, Bob Hepple, Harold Wolpe, and Denis Goldberg. Many of these individuals were discovered in the police’s raid on Liliesleaf farm, and tried in the subsequent Rivonia Treason Trial. They were to later spend over 25 years in prison.
“Liliesleaf was an old house that needed work and no one lived there. I moved in under the pretext that I was a houseboy
or caretaker that would live there until my master took possession. I had taken the alias David Motsamayi, the name of one
of my former clients. At the farm, I wore the simple blue overalls that were the uniform of the black male servant.”
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
The security police raid on Liliesleaf Farm on July 11, 1963 was critical. The arrest of so many
senior ANC leaders was a major blow to the movement and the struggle for liberation. However,
the subsequent trial, which became known to the world as the Rivonia Trial, finally focused world
scrutiny on South Africa and its oppressive regime."
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