Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #530) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #530)
Transcript: Trial which was the first case in South Africa in which patriots, black and white, were jointly charged. That case involved perhaps the largest number of accused and top leaders of the enitre Congress movement. It was also the longest case in our history and attracted much interest in the country and abroad.
While it is not easy to compare political trials the Rivonia Trial has a special significance because it marked a turning point in the history of the liberation movement in South Africa. Here the Congress movement made deliberate plans for a countrywide uprising. It involved only 10 accused. We were charged for conducting the sabotage campaign that had rocked the country since late 1961 and for planning and preparing for an armed atruggle to overthrow the government. The organisations named as co conspirators were the ANC, Umkhonto We Sizwe and the SACP.
On my return from Robben Island I was kept alone and completely isolated at the Pretoria Local Prison. Nonetheless I soon discovered and managed to communicate with Fazi and his group who had undergone military training in Ethiopia and were arrested while returning to South Africa. They were members of MK and their trial was to be the first held under the Sabotage Act which had been passed in 1962 (?). I helped them prepare for their trial in which circumstances compelled them to defend themselves without the aid of attorney and counsel. I had advised them to contact our friend Harold Wolpe, an attorney, to handle their case. When they sought permission to communicate with him the prison authorities told them that Harold was under detention. My first intimation of the Rivonia arrests came through Fazi and his group. There were pointers even before
Extent and Medium: 1 page