page 023 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_023.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 1-023

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_023.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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have no right whatsoever to judge other in terms of my own customs, however much I may be proud of such customs; that to despise others because they have not observed particular customs is a dangerous form of chauvinism. I consider myself obliged to pay proper respect to my customs and traditions, provided that such customs and traditions tend to keep us together and do not in any way conflict with the aims and objects of the struggle against racial oppression. But I shall neither impose my own customs on others nor follow any practice which will offend my comrades, especially now that freedom has become so costly. But these were not the issues that preoccupied my mind as I left the ceremony in our honor at Tyharlarha in March 1934. I strolled into the open veld and from where I stood I looked at the lush green valley down below. To my back was a large village which I knew so well and through which I had passed many a time on my way from Mqhekezweni to Tyharlarha. Not a single school, Christian or person in Western clothes could be found in that village. It was one of the poorest places I have ever seen in my life, much poorer than Qunu. Battalions of men, young and old, left the area yearly to work on the gold mines. Its only wealth was the cheapness of its labour. But this was the wealth for others and not for the village. For the mine bosses and not for Thembuland. To our generation the village was famous for the beauty of its women. I tought I should walk in that direction. Just then I looked to my right and saw the Mbhashe flowing slowly like a giant serpent towards the Indian Ocean. I had never crossed that river before and knew nothing of the world beyond. I had known vaguely that Hintsa, the famous Xhosa king, had lived somewhere in those areas, and that Makana, the African general who tried to take Grahamstown in 1819 had also lived in that direction. I turned to my left and saw several homes scattered among the mimosa trees with cattle and sheep grazing nearby. I could see

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