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In the 20th century, science has popularized new meanings for the word. Although scientists first borrowed the term based on their belief
that the biological cell was much like a physical cell—a
discrete formation with nearly impenetrable walls—biologists today
consider the cell more permeable, its wall acting as a selective barrier,
preserving the differences between interior and exterior, yet allowing
specified interaction with the environment. Much as it was when monks and
hermits first retreated from society, the cell is once again regarded as a
locus for transformation.
The most recognized prisoner in recent history may be Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, and soon thereafter was elected president of South Africa. On the 11th anniversary of Mandela’s release, recordings from the trial that sentenced him to life in prison were made public.
to in his trial as “Accused Number One”, Mandela was charged with acts
of sabotage designed to foment violent revolution. He gave a three-hour
Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial, April 20, 1964, Track 5 (5’27") NSA C985, from dubbings made by The British Library National Sound Archive, NELSON MANDELA: THE RIVONIA TRIAL (Pretoria, South Africa 1963-1964).
Note: The South African Broadcasting Corporation located the recordings from Mandela’s trial, which were stored on “dictabelts”, a technology long ago abandoned. After searching the world, the SABC discovered that The British Library had a dictabelt machine preserved in its archives. Researchers used the machine to bring Mandela’s young voice back to life.
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