Nelson Mandela spent nearly three decades behind bars and became the symbol of the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, and eventually became the nation’s first Black president after his release. In a recently released article, a former CIA agent admitted that he helped the South African government jail the beloved world leader.
Britain’s Sunday Times made the original report that agent Donald Rickard led authorities to Mandela in 1962 via a tip, which led to the leader living in brutal prison conditions for 27 years. Rickard, who died this past March, told British filmmaker John Irvin about his role in Mandela’s jailing for Irvin’s film, Mandela’s Gun, which focuses on the weeks leading up to the arrest.
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An article by James Sanders, who said he was asked by Irvin to investigate the issue, said the director travelled to the US earlier this year and interviewed Rickard.
Rickard explained how Mandela was arrested as he travelled between Durban and Johannesburg but did not explain how he had learnt where he would be.
“I found out when he was coming down and how he was coming … that’s where I was involved and that’s where Mandela was caught,” Rickard was quoted as saying.
Rickard, who was reportedly employed by the CIA until 1978, died in March, two weeks after talking to Irvin.
He said that Mandela was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union”.
“He could have incited a war in South Africa, the United States would have to get involved, grudgingly, and things could have gone to hell,” Rickard said.
A spokesperson for the ruling ANC Party, of which Mandela was a member of, said that the Rickard admission confirmed their suspicions that America and other Western powers conspired with the Apartheid-led government. The spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, alleged that the CIA is still interfering with South African political affairs in a recent press statement.