Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #121) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #121)
Transcript: of the beginning of the acts of Defiance in his district was consistent with his fine personality. But I believe at the same time that the way he handled the whole affair was not unrelated to the fact that we were acting from a position of strength. Government officials are too busy to grant interviews to weak opponents and the only weaklings they are prepared to treat with some measure of respect are those who are willing to tow the line.
From the magistrate's office we went straight to the township, the scene of action, and from a distance we could hear the volunteers singing lustly and with feeling. We found the main gate locked and guarded while the volunteers demanded entrance. There was a strong and heavily armed police force. They were apparently waiting for orders and there was little interference with the volunteers. A large crowd of spectators had assembled at some distance from the scene. In spite of his acute arthritis Nama Sita, an old campaigner familiar with the misery of prison life in South African jails, was in high spirits, moved around the volunteers, chatting and cheering them. The presence of the Secretary General of the ANC in the first batch was of great significance. It showed, amongst other things, that we were ready to hit the enemy with everything in our hands and that our organisation had produced leaders who were ready to share all the hazards with their comrades.
I was particularly struck by their restrained manner, at least on the surface, in which the otherwise reckless South African police behaved on this occasion. The government was very touchy about anti apartheid demonstrations and dealt with all of them, especially those involving Africans, in a high handed manner. Only two years before this it had butchered 18 innocent and defenceless
Extent and Medium: 1 page