page 344 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_344.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 10-344


Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_344.jpg]


  • 1976 - (Creation)

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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virtually a staple diet. But this was a matter about which we all felt very strongly and we were prepared to make the sacrifices which were demanded. The sense of shock was so great that people spontaneously organised their own system of inspection and culprits were rough handled. At markets and outside wholesale and retail shops there were scuffles and skirmishes in which people threw out the shop's supplies of potatoes into the gutters and people were beaten up and their baskets or shopping bags thrown away.

A church conference attended by white and balck delegates was held in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, and the African priest who acted as host was a man who once visited India and was given an interview with Mahatma Gandhi. But he chose to defy the people by including potatoes in the dinner prepared for the guests. Some of the women who cooked the food threw away the potatoes. Both white and black delegates refused to touch those that reached the table.

This boycott was one of the greatest triumphs and showed that the ANC and its allies enjoyed solid mass support. It was felt both by the shopkeepers and merchants and by farmers and the government. In the warehouses and on farm stacks and stacks of potatoes in bags went to seed and began shooting out roots and stems through the hessian sacks or rotted away altogether. Although we have no records it is clear that the industry suffered heavily. The Indian vegetable merchants in Ddiagonal Street as well as potato wholesalers kept us well informed about the developments and extent of the boycott, and throughout they acted as a good barometer of the campaign.

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