page 018 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_018.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 1-018

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_018.jpg]

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  • 1976 - (Creation)

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page

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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the family. She condemned my action so strongly that I feared the devil would torture me for this. At Qunu I never went to church except on the day when I was baptized by the same priest at the age of seven. But at Mqhekezweni I attended regularly. In fact the only occasion on which the regent ever gave me corporal punishment was when I dodged service and took part in a faction fight. I never made that mistake again. At Qunu I used to stay away from school during ploughing season to help the family in the fields. But at Mqhekezweni ploughing presented no problem. For one thing the large royal field would be completely ploughed in less than a day by the community, and there was enough labour for purposes of planting, hoeing and reaping. Only on Saturdays was I free to go to the fields and join the other boys in the veld. The regent was not keen that I visit Qunu, lest I should fall into bad company and run away from school, so he reasoned. He would allow me only a few days to go home. On other occasions he would arrange for my mother to be fetched so that she could see me at the royal residence. It was always an exciting moment for me to visit Qunu and see my mother and sisters and other members of the family. I was particularly happy in the company of my cousin, Alexander Mandela, who inspired and encouraged me on questions of education in those early days. He and my niece, Phathiwe Rhanugu (she was much older than me), were perhaps the first members of our clan to qualify as teachers. Were it not for their advice and patient persuasion I doubt if I would have succeeded in resisting the attractions offered by the easy life outside the classroom. The two influences that dominated my thoughts and actions during those days were chieftancy and the church. After all, the only heroes I had heard of at that time had almost all been chiefs, and the respect enjoyed by the regent from both black and white tended to exaggerate the importance of this institution in my mind. I saw chieftancy not only as the pivot

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