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Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech

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Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on May 10th, 1994 and with his inauguration, he prepared a very well thought out speech to thank those who were there and those who voted for him. After being in prison for 27 years he was released from prison in 1990 by President F.W. de Klerk and they started to negotiate the end of apartheid. Mandela used modes of appeal very carefully throughout the speech to connect with the South African people, encouraged them to come together as one nation and become more credible to the white population of South Africa.

Mandela most definitely knew the audience he was talking to the day of his inauguration. The inauguration was an internationally televised speech that the whole world was interested in. Mandela was the first black president in South Africa and was very well liked around the whole world. He knew exactly that there would be so many people listening to his speech, so he had to pick his words very carefully.

He listed everyone who was listening to his speech in the first line saying, “Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Comrades, and Friends:” This list shows that he knew exactly who he was talking to. He used the speech to lift the nation, give them confidence that they could actually overcome the oppression and make them more optimistic for the future. The language he used sounded like the type of language a very well-educated person would use. He was very convincing with each point he made and he sounded very ‘leader like’.

Rhetorical devices such as repetition, logos, pathos, and ethos were all used in different ways to make the speech more memorable, credible and emotional. Repetition was used often throughout the speech. “We” is a word Mandela used most very often to emphasize that it would not only be him leading the country, but everyone will be making decisions for the nation. He also used “we” to make sure to not sound as if it only was him that won, but it was the whole nation that won by getting rid of apartheid and electing him as their president.

This type of repetition is called anaphora which means, “the deliberate repetition of the first part of the sentence in order to achieve an artistic effect. ” It was not only “we” Mandela used, but also when he said “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” (p.2) Also at the end of page 2 he said, “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.” (p. 2) These examples of anaphoric repetition create a very dramatic tone.

Mandela also had a very good understanding of the different modes of appeal. He used ethos to make himself more trustworthy in the eyes of his viewers. Another very important thing he used ethos for, was to identify himself with the people of South Africa.

He used “we” to make himself not seem any better than the people who voted for him. This in turn made people believe in him as their president because of his way of identifying with them. Pathos was also used extensively to appeal to the audience’s emotions.

“I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.” (p. 1) This appealed to the audience’s emotions by giving them an image they all know, of the “famous jacaranda trees.” They would have probably felt a great sense of pride and patriotism when he said that.
The intention of the speech was to

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