Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #122) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #122)
Transcript: Africans. What was holding them back now? Was their restraint part of a strategy to wear out the volunteers, or were they waiting for the dark night and the pressmen to go to bed before they staged another carnage? Or were they faced with the dilemma of doing what we wanted arrest and thus help launch the Campaign, or alternatively not to arrest people who were deliberately breaking the laws of the country? There was wide scope for speculation but it was heartening to note that the enemy was treating us seriously. Equally important was the unusual sight of black men in dynamic mood in the face of a large show of force. Suddenly the whole scene changed: the police surrounded and arrested all the volunteers. The battle was on!
That same day at midnight Oliver Tambo, Yusuf Cachalia and I were nearby when Flag Boshielo's batch was arrested. As I turned away feeling hungry and exhausted after a strenuous day and looking forward to a good meal and a well deserved rest, a policeman intercepted me, "No, Mandela. You can't escape. Get into the van." Yusuf Cachalia was also picked up and thus unwittingly the two of us found ourselves among more than fifty of our volunteers locked up at Marshall Square that night. Yusuf Cachalia and I were not on the list of defiers for June 26th and after spending a couple of days in the police cells we were released on bail and although we were charged jointly with Flag and his batch, we were all found not guilty and discharged.
Meanwhile the Campaign gathered force and there was plenty of action in the main centres of South Africa. On the first day no less than 250 volunteers defied and within five months 8,500 took part. The total membership of the ANC shot up from a mere 20,000 to 100,000 within that period.
Extent and Medium: 1 page