Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #560) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #560)
Transcript: Here at home public interest in the case was equally strong and the threat of a general strike and general unrest frightened the government. From the start of the proceedings there was a flood of messages of solidarity and support coming from our families and people from different walks of life. My nephew, the Transkei Minister Chief Minister, and Zami's father, then Transkei Minister of Agriculture, had indicated that they were prepared to intervene if we needed their help. Chief Luthuli, Monty Naicker and A.W.G. Champion, former president of the ANC in Natal, were among those who sent messages of encouragement and solidarity.
On the day I read out my statement the court was packed with our relatives and members of the public and the authorities made the juri box once more available to distinguished visitors. When we were convicted the writer Alan Paton, president of the Liberal Party, gave evidence in mitigation and, as we had done in our respective pleas and evidence, laid the whole blame squarely on the shoulders of the government. Outside the court huge crowds were demonstrating, carrying placards and singing freedom songs that we could hear inside the court. The atmosphere was electric. On that day as well as the next when we were sentenced the police took the ususal precautions. We were driven non stop and at great speed under escort to and from court by a huge convoy of police vehicles and cross traffic along the route was blocked. For me personally it was a real inspiration to see Zami in court with my mother who came all the way from the Transkei, my sister Leabie who had been detained a few months before that, Zami's sisters Niki Xaba, Nali Vutela, Nonyaniso and other members of the family.
Extent and Medium: 1 page