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Letter: Joffe and his team ran rings round the prosecution and saved Mandela

Story from: South Africa | The Guardian

For a man who played a key role in changing history, Joel Joffe was remarkably modest. He was also remarkably kind, selfless and courageous.

When he took on the defence of Nelson Mandela and the other ANC leaders in July 1963, such was the atmosphere of intimidation by the government and police that their wives could find no other attorney (solicitor) brave enough to act for them. Together with his wife, Vanetta, their luggage already on a ship bound for Australia, where they had planned to emigrate to avoid bringing up their young children under apartheid, Joffe returned to their empty flat, slept on a mattress on the floor and set about masterminding the greatest defence in South African legal history.

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