Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #518) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #518)
Transcript: our prison outfits long khakhi trousers, corduroy jackets and boots as against our short trousers, canvas jackets and sandals.
One night towards the end of May 1963 I was ordered to pack my personal belongings. At the reception office I found three other political prisoners Stephen Tefu, John Kgaitsiwe and Aaron Molete. I learnt from Col. Aucamp who was then officer commanding Pretoria Local that we were being transferred to Robben Island. I hate being moved from one prison to another. It involves much inconvenience and degrading treatment. One is handcuffed and sometimes even manacled, and often it involves being exposed to priosn officials and members of the public at each stop at different prisons en route while one is dressed in the humiliating prison outfit.
But I was excited at the prospect of seeing Robben Island, a place that I had heard of since the days of my childhood, a place that our people talked of as esiqithini (at the Island). The Island became famous among the Xhosa people after Makane, also known as Nxele, the commander of the Xhosa army in the so called Fourth Xhosa War was banished and was subsequently drowned when he tried to escape from the Island by swimming to the mainland. His death was a sad blow to the hopes of the Xhosas and the memory of that blow has been woven into the idioms of the people who speak of a "forlorn hope" by the phrase "Ukuza kuka Mxele".
Makana was not the first black hero to be banished and confined to Robben Island. That honour goes to Autshumayo, known to white historians as Harry the Strandloper. Autshumayo was
Extent and Medium: 1 page