In 1961, Nelson Mandela, who had by then become a well-known anti-apartheid activist, helped organize a massive stay-at-home strike for workers across South Africa, a strike that the government declared illegal. Police issued a warrant for Mandela’s arrest and this drove him underground into hiding. It was while he was in hiding that reporter Brian Widlake tracked him down and interviewed the future South African president for the first time on television.
“I went to see the man who organized this strike, a 42-year-old man named Nelson Mandela,” Widlake says. “The police were hunting for him at the time, but African nationalists arranged for me to meet him at his hideout.”