page 002 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_002.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 1-002


Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_002.jpg]


  • 1976 - (Creation)

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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courtyard. The buildings consisted of two large ingxande (square houses) and seven rondavels, all washed in white lime and far bigger than anything I had seen before. In the shade of two gum trees sat a group of about twenty serious elders. There were peach trees and maize in the front garden and a larger garden at the back had apple trees, maize, a vegetable and flower strip and a wattle patch. Grazing around the place were about fifty head of cattle and about three hundred sheep. This was Mqhekezweni, the provisional capital of Thembuland, and the residence of Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo who acted as the regent for Sabata, a future king.

In my village at Qunu I had seen modern homes of the families of Mbekela, Zidlele, Njomane, Habe and others, but the royal residence completely dwarfed all these. Here almost everything had a dimension of its own and at that age I could hardly imagine anything on earth which could exceed this. It would take me almost two decades to discover the prosperity of the Thembu Court could hardly be compared to that of the senior chiefs of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Towards sunset a huge motor car drove through the western gate and the men in the shade rose to their feet shouting: Bayethe a a a Jongintaba ! (Hail ! Jongintaba !), the traditional salute of the Xhosas for their chief. A short thick set man, dark complexioned and wearing a smart suit, stepped out and joined the gathering under the trees. He had a resolute bearing and an intelligent face. His confidence and casual manner marked him off as one who was used to praise and exercise of authority. This was the regent who for more than a decade was to be my guardian and generous benefactor and who was to exercise a tremendous influence on me. His physical appearance symbolised all the prosperity and grandeur that was written into everything that made up that home.

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