Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #107) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #107)
Transcript: whether the person had a fair or dark complexion. The Group Areas Act was the cornerstone of apartheid and under it each racial group could only own land, occupy premises, reside and trade in its own separate area.
The arbitrary and meaningless test applied and the inhumanity of the Population Registration Act is illustrated in a case I once handled. In this instance a Coloured man was classified as an African. During the Second World War he had served in North Africa and Italy. We appealed to the Classification Board consisting of a magistrate and two other officials, all white. We had formidable evidence to establish our client's case and the prosecutor formally indicated that he did not wish to oppose our appeal. A magistrate asked our client to turn around with his back facing the bench. After looking carefully at our client's shoulders, he nodded to the other officials and upheld the appeal. And so it came about that such a crucial issue was decided purely on fortuitous grounds and the structure of the shoulders.
In 1951 the government made a direct attack on the rights of the Coloureds and Africans respectively. It passed the Separate Representation of Voters Act which it later used to remove Coloureds from the common voters roll, a right which they had enjoyed in the Cape for more than a century. The same year it passed the Bantu Authorities Act to restore the power of the Chiefs and to break up Africans who were increasingly becoming concious of their unity and power as a national group, into small ethnic entities preoccupied with purely local affairs and completely lacking a nationwide and international outlook. To split up the African into several narrow visioned
Extent and Medium: 1 page