Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #252) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #252)
Transcript: two large cells and although they had recently been painted, they still had an offensive smell because of the poor ventilation and lack of cleanliness of the surrounding cells. The cells had cement floors and each one of us was given three blankets plus a sisal mat. Each cell had only one eastern type of floor level latrine which was completely exposed. It was quite a painful experience especially to the elderly people to have to use such conveniences in the sight of everybody.
But man is adaptive and will always strive to make the best of the worst of circumstances. Whenever I recall those days at the Fort I remember best the excitement with which we read each other newspapers through which we learnt of the wave of indignation aroused by our arrests. Throughout the major centres of South Africa protest meetings and demonstrations were held declaring defiantly "We Stand By Our Leaders". Then there was the excitement of meeting long standing colleagues from all over the country colleagues who had for years been labouring under restrictions and banning orders which made it illegal to come together. Here, under one roof, the enemy ironically presented us with the opportunity not only to meet on a personal level but as a body of freedom fighters. We revelled in the opportunity and enjoyed ourselves with matters both serious and light during the two weeks we remained there as awaiting trial prisoners. We prepared a programme of activities which kept us occupied for the greater part of the day. Patrick Molaoa and Peter Ntithe organised a physical training programme. Creative talks were arranged with Professor Matthews giving a talk on the history of the ANC, Debi Singh on that of the SAIC, while Reverend Calata spoke on African music if speak can be the right word, for during his talks he sang more than spoke and Arthur Letele delivered a lecture on African medicine men. These lectures aroused
Extent and Medium: 1 page