page 012 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_012.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 1-012


Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_012.jpg]


  • 1976 - (Creation)

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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drought with planting, first fruits, harvest, marriage, birth, initiation ceremonies and death. By the standards of the community then, he probably would be regarded as a refined person. I think he was and certainly loved and respected his wives and children like any other man. But in maintaining discipline among his children he did not hesitate to use the rod ever he thought such a course was necessary. At birth my father gave me the name Rolihlahla, which literally means 'pulling the branch of a tree' and more accurately, 'troublemaker'. In later years relatives and friends would jokingly ascribe to this name the multiplicity of storms into which I have run. My English name was given to me by my class teacher on the first day I attended school. Before that I do not remember receiving any kind of formal education. Nobody ever sat with me at regular intervals to give me a clear and connected account of the history of our country, of its geography, natural wealth and problems, of our culture, of how to count, to study weights and measures. Like all Xhosa children I acquired knowledge by asking questions to satisfy my curiosity as I grew up, learnt through experience, watched adults and tried to imitate what they did. In this process an important role is played by custom, ritual and taboo, and I came to possess a fair amount of information in this regard. For example I soon learnt that a married woman may under no circumstances enter the cattle or sheep kraal in her new home, may not mention the name of any of her husbands ancestors, that men may not enter a house were a woman recently given birth, that the first fruits may not be tasted with out appropriate ceremonies, and that to neglect your parents and your customs would bring disaster and failure in life. In our home there were other dependents, boys mainly, and at an early age I drifted away from my parents and moved about, played and ate together with other boys. In fact I hardly remember any occasion when I was ever alone at home. There were always other

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