Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #273) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #273)
Transcript: Chapter 9:
The country wide police swoop that preceeded the declaration of martial law on 1st April 1960, euphemistically called the State of Emergency, led to the detention without trial of more than 1,000 people of all races, belonging to the Congress movement, the Communist Party, the Pan Africanist congress, the Liberal Party and two members of the Non Euripean Unity Movement. They were kept in Johannesburg, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
The swoop took place in the early hours of the 31st March (check?) and the same day urgent Supreme Court applications were made on behalf of several detainees for orders calling upon the police to release the detainees concerned on the ground that the police had no authority for such measures. The orders were granted and these particular detainees were released.
But a government which has no respect for democratic procedures cannot be frustrated in its intententions by court orders. I and many of those who came from the South Western Area, as Soweto was then known, were kept at Newlands police station from dawn and our first meal came only in the evening and consisted of un sugared plain porridge which we had to eat with unwashed hands. At 12.05 a.m. I was released and when I reached the station gate I was re arrested and brought back to the cells. This happened to all of us and soon the cell was again packed with the same detainees. The police swoop had occurred before the declaration of martial law and, in spite of the court orders, we were detained illegally and only "released" when martial law came into
Extent and Medium: 1 page