How Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi Use Rhetorical Devices Persuade Their Audiences

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I was intrigued to write my extended essay on Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela especially because growing up as a kid, I heard so many compliments about him. During my primary schooling, I read few extracts of his work and due to his reputation, his work and his determination mainly motivated me to discover more about him. Mahatma Gandhi is a similar figure to Nelson Mandela but his work existed before the Mandela era and the fact that Mandela admired his work makes him more fascinating and it will permits me to know about him, as I just know him vaguely. Nelson Mandela was a South African politician and activist. He became the first black president of his country, South Africa, in a fully represented democratic election on April 27, 1994. In 1944, Mandela helped begin the African National Congress Youth League. He was soon a high-positioned pioneer of the gathering. He needed to free South Africa without brutality, yet the government began executing and harming dissidents. He at that point began Umkhonto we Sizwe1 with Walter Sisulu and other individuals in the African National Congress that he appreciated, for example, Mahatma Gandhi. A trial was later held and was known as the Rivonia Trial. Mandela was on trial on account of his inclusion in vandalism and violence in 1962. He was condemned to life in jail, Nelson Mandela is by far one of the most influential people in the twentieth century. Mandela gave, which is considered one of the great speeches of the 20th century, the “I Am Prepared To Die” speech. It was held On 20th April 1964 and was a three hour speech which describes why the African National Congress had decided to go beyond its previous use of constitutional methods and Gandhian non-violent resistance against the South African government. The purpose of this speech was to convince the court that a majority of the allegations made against himself, as well as the African National Congress, were false but he also aimed to thrust their movement forward.

The audience of this speech was directly the court but also the South African residents both black and white and the government as well. It is also directed to Africa as he mentioned Africa as a whole a numerous times in this speech. Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian Activist. He was the leader of the Indian Independence Movement against the British rule. Gandhi joined the Indian National Congress and was introduced to Indian issues, politics and the Indian people primarily by Gokhale. Gokhale was a key leader of the Congress Party best known for his restraint and moderation, and his insistence on working inside the system. Mahatma Gandhi is another figure who is one of the most compelling individuals in the nineteenth century. Gandhi gave, what to many, is considered his most esteemed speech,the “Quit India” speech. It was held on 8th August 1942 and in this speech, Gandhi encourages his 1 This was the armed wing of the African National Congress, co-founded by Nelson Mandela in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre people to encircle a non-violent stance in their fight for freedom and equality. In other words, he addresses the Indian people (British colony) to fight and gain independence and discard colonisation. The audience of this speech were the Indian people that were in the square who supported Gandhi and was willing for the movement to happen and fight for freedom. It is also directed to people who were present but were unsure about the movement.

Rhetorical Comparison And Analysis Between the “Quit India” Speech And “I Am Prepared To die” Speech: Both Mandela and Gandhi used rhetorical devices to persuade their audiences. There is a contrast in their use of these devices whereas some of them are used by both. Gandhi established ethos through the use of religious references. For example, at the beginning of the speech he makes reference to God. “God has vouchsafed to me a priceless gift in the weapon of Ahimsa2…God will not forgive me and I shall be judged unworthy of the great gift”(paragraph 3). He addresses a religious public including Muslims and Hindus, whom still worship a form of God even though they practice different religions. Furthermore, he uses this religious connotation to appeal to the common belief of the Indians by saying that by falling to confer Ahimsa he will have failed God, he inculcates a common feeling of guilt in his audience. Therefore causing many to support or at least examine a state of non-violence. Further into his speech he says, “I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far we are still from the ideal but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat” (paragraph 4). The acknowledgement realizes that this sense of peace is corrupted and far from perfect but clutched that there still is promise.

On the other hand, Mandela uses ethos at the very beginning of the speech when he introduces himself and qualifications as a credible speaker. He states “I am the First Accused. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and practiced as an attorney… for a number of years… I am a convicted prisoner serving five years” (paragraph 1).. He begins by communicating his circumstance for the circumstance, 'First Accused', then moves to something that positive about his character, talking about his enlightening establishment. This instantly isolates him from those ordinary to be in prison; uneducated delinquents. His educational and work accreditations makes him tried and true as a speaker, yet moreover makes the social affair of individuals come to deliver what drove him to his present position. Later in his talk he adds to his situation in the improvement by determining that on account of his relationship in the dealing with hit with individual Africans he 'in this way… expected to leave' his 'home and family… and go into hiding to avoid arrest' (paragraph 13). This was a direct result of the out of line laws executed by the South African government to keep up a key separation from dim progression. This aides in highlighting the importance this objective has for the rest of his life, he is faithful to the point that he would leave his family to accomplish the targets of the ANC and its fans. Qualities like this set him apart from essentially some other social advancement pioneer.

Another way Mandela uses ethos is by using the authenticity of others. He depicts talking with the ANC and presents the defence that he was 'met with sympathy… and promises of help' for their inspiration in South Africa (paragraph 38). He names an impressive proportion of world pioneers as his supporters. This affirmation impacts the arraignment of the strategies consequently to have all the earmarks of being basically more absurd. Ahimsa means ‘’not to injure’’ and ‘’compassion’’ and refers to a key virtue in Indian Religions. Furthermore, Mandela’s choice of diction in this speech is additionally relevant to the achievement of the speech. With each word he picked his movement moved forward. While portraying the ANC's battles for balance he expresses that they were ' either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government” (paragraph 8). This truly demonstrates the idea of their battle, they either needed to manage their place in the public arena or they needed to battle the legislature with the end goal to pick up rights. Utilizing the word mediocrity truly passes on their feeling of weakness inside the political field. Black Africans were not the slightest bit equivalents to whites, and the legislature guaranteed that the norm would remain.

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Another case of effective word decision was when Mandela portrays the ANC's decision to utilize tranquil exhibit. To this he guarantees ' the government’s answer was to… rule by force alone” (paragraph 14). This again is a method for interfacing antagonism to the administration's activities. Thusly, he moves any negative consideration far from the activities of himself and the ANC, and features exclusively the administration's wrong doing amid the quiet challenges of their development. This was an incredible instrument in uncovering Mandela's resistance for the situation. Towards the beginning of Gandhi’s speech he uses imagery, he depicts the earth in turmoil, ravaged by violence, pleading out for help. “In the present crisis, when the earth is scorched by the flames of Himsa and crying out for deliverance,” he proclaimed(paragraph 3). The image of a demolished world acts as a notice to the reader that on the off chance that they proceed in a way suffused with brutality, it will prompt only pulverization. Gandhi represents earth to show the unfriendly impact of brutality and furthermore ponder enduring a human level. Additionally, his use of diction emphasizes this theme of destruction. His choice of cutting words such as scorched, flames, and deliverance, all words that convey a negative undertone, put forth this expression horribly unpleasant, inciting negative emotions. In any case, for the dominant part of his speech Gandhi adheres to a smooth, centre diction. It is essential that his diction and tone be calm with the goal for him to accentuate peace, in other words he must lead by example.

Gandhi also uses apostrophe to bring forth positive feelings of unity and empowerment. After concentrating mostly on violence, in the middle of the speech Gandhi aims the two main religious groups in India, Hindus and Muslims. Outside from the British, religious tensions between these two groups contributed to the widespread violence in India at the time. He begins the statement through the sentential, “Everybody will be his own master”(paragraph 5). He then went further on to say, “Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence”(paragraph 5). Gandhi elevates the idea that no group is ruled by another and the feeling of equality. He encourages harmony between the two groups. Gandhi uses logos to influence the colonized Indians towards passive resistance. His logos constitutes of deductive reasoning and correction of erroneous views. Gandhi organizes his speech through deductive reasoning. In the first few paragraphs he makes the assertion that the greatest weapon is Ahimsa. Gandhi claims, “the draft resolution of the Working Committee is based on Ahimsa, the contemplated struggle similarly has its root in Ahimsa”(paragraph 3). He then uses his later paragraphs to explain why that is so. There is 3. This means ‘‘to strike ‘’(opposite of Ahimsa) different evidence in each paragraph to justify its initial claim. For instance, in one of its subsequent paragraphs, he alludes to the French and Russian Revolutions of Carlyle and says, 'But it is my conviction that in as much as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal'. His latter statement backs up his initial claim. Gandhi also uses correction of inaccurate views in particular in this statement. He confirms his claim by revealing a previous method's flaw. He concludes here that violence eliminates the potential for a genuinely democratic state in which everyone is equal. He ties in this statement with his apostrophe to Muslims and Hindus, as mentioned earlier in this paper.

Deductive reasoning tends to be less effective than inductive reasoning, where one starts with explanations and concludes with an overall claim, however Gandhi successfully uses this technique to enforce his logos. In addition, Gandhi identifies a common misconduct in thinking 'the people,' which is the British's precipitous overview. The mistake of British people and British imperialism leads to unjustified hatred of the British people. He disclosed, “The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people...We must get rid of that feeling”(paragraph 6). He reminds the public that India is not confined to the British, but to British colonialism. The use of logos in his Quit India speech, therefore, promotes his main view of non - violence as an effective weapon alone. Mandela as well, also uses much logic and fact to explain much of his reasoning, otherwise referred to as logos. Though Mandela sometimes blames himself literally, he accords a lot of thought that leads him to these decisions. He states that “fifty years of non- violence had brought the African people nothing but more…repressive legislation and fewer rights” (paragraph 17), this entailed their “followers… to lose confidence” in the ANC’s policy of non-violence, and were in turn “developing ideas of terrorism”. Using this as rationale he moves on to say that “it showed that a government that uses force to maintain its rule teaches the oppressed to use force to oppose it” (paragraph 18). This again was another way to blame the government on the ANC’s movement and Mandela. The more the government is responsible, the less one should think that the actions of the Africans fell on their shoulders exclusively.

He also says “We believed in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that 'the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of the Government”. He makes reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to support his fact that the African people did not make the laws by which they are governed and were not part of the Government. Towards the end of his speech, Mandela begins to relay some scary statistics to the court. After listing some statistics he describes the positions of black Africans in South Africa “to those of the serfs in the Middle Ages” (paragraph 72). The statistics he provides backs this idea, and again gives light to how bad situations were for these people. Mandela uses anaphora, to generate a particular effect of engaging your audience in an emotional experience, frequently through his speech. This is being portrayed by the often use of “My Lord”. For example “I now want to deal, My Lord… This explains, My Lord, why persons like Bennett Mashiyane and Reginald Ndube heard nothing about sabotage at the meetings they attended.” This is to insert an emotional effect towards the judge whilst defending allegations.

Another important and powerful device Mandela uses, is the power of three, which is known as one of the most powerful rhetorical devices. “ I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites”(paragraph 10). The use of these three words: tyranny, exploitation and oppression forms a powerful expression and he emphasizes how his people were being maltreated in a pity manner. Additionally, he says “The Government's answer was to introduce new and harsher laws, to mobilize its armed forces, and to send Saracens, armed vehicles, and soldiers into the townships in a massive show of force designed to intimidate the people”(paragraph 14). Again, the use of power of three by: armed forces, Saracens4 and armed vehicles, signifies the ferocious and merciless Government’s response towards the South African people. Gandhi uses the power of three to express the qualities he has to the audience. For example,“ I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me and I shall be judged unworthy of the great gift. I must act now”(paragraph 3). He accentuates that he has rare qualities which he wasted before but that he is ready to utilise it again. This drags the audience’s attention.

The use of rhetorical questions, a question asked to emphasize a point or admonish the audience, was demonstrated. For example, “I must return however, My Lord to June 1961. What were we, the leaders of our people, to do? Were we to give in to the show of force and the implied threat against future action, or were we to fight it out and, if so, how?”(paragraph 16). These questions were asked to get the audience thinking and relate to his situation. Gandhi uses rhetorical question as well. For example he says, “This community is microscopic. That party did not play its due part in the freedom’s struggle; why should it have all the power?”. This question emphasizes an obvious idea. Mandela also uses alliteration, which is known as the repetition of the same letter or sound at the commencement of closely associated words. For example, he says “ there was violence in 1958 with the enforcement of Bantu Authorities and cattle culling in Sekhukhune land”(paragraph 19).This extracts the effect of how the cattle were treated and creates a sad mood for the audience. As quoted above, Mandela says “…and to send Saracens…”(paragraph 14). This is another example of the use of alliteration as the recurrence of the “s” sound represent an artful feature. He is implying that the act was an intended torture and that the South African people were in danger. Gandhi as well uses alliteration. For example as quoted above, he says “I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me and I shall be judged unworthy of the great gift. I must act now”(paragraph 3). He uses it to create a mood such that the audience will act positive due to his reference to “God given” and “gift”.

Another rhetorical device Gandhi uses is antithesis, which is two opposite ideas put together to form a contrasting effect. For example, “A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country”(paragraph 4). He is pointing out the fact that freedom soldiers are non-violent because, the audience might 4 an Arab or Muslim, especially at the time of the Crusades interpret soldier as someone armed, and that they have no interest of whatsoever but to fight for their country


Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi both use ethos at the very beginning of their speeches but Gandhi uses it through religious references whereas Mandela uses it by introducing and describing himself. They both as well use alliteration, power of three and rhetorical question. Mandela then uses choice of diction and on the other hand, Gandhi uses imagery and antithesis. Mandela uses more rhetorical devices due to the length of his speech which lasted for three hours compared to Gandhi speech which was not lengthy. The two are similar to the extent that their political parties, the INC(Indian National Congress) and ANC(African National Congress), were similar. These techniques made them achieve their aims as for Mandela even though he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, he served 27 years of the sentence before being released and elected President of South Africa. This shows that his message was delivered and well taken into account which brought freedom to South African from their British colony. For Gandhi the message he gave through his speech was well comprehended and motivated the Indian people. He led to India to gain freedom from the British colonizers and became independent. Through their speeches Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi achieved their aims and they are still public figures and activists known and remembered worldwide.

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