page 337 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_337.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 10-337

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_337.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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enough to accommodate all the women who were due to appear in court and there was no court whatsoever in the city where the trial of the large batches could be heard. The jail authorities did not have the resources to cater for the women and the cells, mats, blankets, food, plates, containers for drinking water, toilet and bath facilities, space for exercising were all insufficient and the conditions was unbearable.

Many relatives and friends wished to bail out the women and I discussed the matter with Lilian and Helen, secretary of the South African Women's Federation which worked closely with the Women's League in organising the demonstrations. They stuck firmly to the view that no women should be bailed out and that all of them should serve whatever sentences might be imposed. They added, perhaps with some justification, that this was an affair for the women and that the men in the ANC as well as husbands should keep out of the matter. Nevertheless I felt that this was an issue to be thrashed out directly with the women actually involved and for this purpose took Lilian down to the cells where we discussed the whole issue. There was no doubt that a substantial section were keen on bail and that we had not prepared them sufficiently for the demands we were now asking them to make. I accordingly suggested the compromise that they spend a fortnight in prison awaiting trial after which we could bail them out. In the meantime I applied formally for bail which was fixed at £1 for each woman. In spite of her objection to men's interference in this affair I urged Lilian to discuss the matter carefully with Walter and Duma, a suggestion which she ultimately accepted.

There was a batch of about 500 women from Alexandra Township and the question of their remand

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