page 226 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_226.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 7-226

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_226.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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Note

Arthur Letele who was then Treasurer General of the ANC was one of the main pillars of our organisation and did well in his area during the Defiance Campaign. He left behind a busy medical practice and a large family and led his comrades to jail. It required a lot of courage for him to take such a risk in a small town where political action by blacks was rare, and where the reaction of the authorities was likely to be severe. In places like the Rand, where the head offices of the ANC are situated, the concentration of the top leadership in one place is an immense advantage and tends to inspire those involved. The frequency of political demonstrations and the large numbers taking part, the constant institution of civil actiongs against the State for offences committed by the police, the vigilance of the press and criticism by liberal circles forced the authorities to act less recklessly. But in isolated places like Kimberley the same authorities frequently run wild and do unbelievable things. To lead a resistance campaign in such a situation demand great determination. It was in Kimberley during the Defiance Campaign that one of our leading members Itoleng was give lashes by the magistrate.

Politicians who have a sharp eye for opportunities for activising their membership can be hard taskmasters even when they are medical practitioners dealing with sick men. In spite of my cold I had to address a meeting which Arthur Letele called in his house the following evening. That night I felt fresh and strong and ready to set out on the last lap of my journey back to Johannesburg. As usual I wanted to leave at 3 a.f. but the boss in that house was not Arthur but his wife Mary. She insisted that I leave only after breakfast and that is what I had to do.

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