Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #13) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #13)
Transcript: children with whom I shared food and blankets at night. I must have been about five years old when I began going out with other boys to look after sheep and claves and when I was introduced to the exciting love of the veld. Later when I was a bit older I was able to look after cattle as well. It was here that I learnt how to use sticks, to strike and parry blows, to hit birds in flight with a stick or sling, to set traps, gather wild honey, fruits and edible roots, drink milk straight from the udder, swim in the streams and pools and to catch river fish with twine and sharpened bits of wire. We stole maize from the fields, produced fire by rubbing together two dry sticks, and roasted the maize, preferably in old ant heaps. We made and played with clay toys oxen pulling a sledge, plough or wagon, horses in harness, human beings, birds and all the other objects we knew. Not only could we not afford modern toys. At that time I had not even seen or heard of them. We used small flat stones to slide down the face of a large sloping rock the indigenous version of the western sliding chute for children and repeated the performance over and over again. We learnt to ride by taming weaned calves and after being thrown several times to the ground, one acquired the technique. Several games like Ndize (hide and seek), Icekwa (touch and run) could be played together with girls. In the latter the competitors touch one another, usually on the upper part of the body, and the winner is the one who is the last to touch the other. This is usually done by touching and sprinting away before the other could retaliate. Another game I enjoyed very much was what I call Khetha (choose the one you like) game. We would stop girls of our age group along the way and ask each one to choose the boy she loved. It was a rule that the girl's choice would be respected and, once she had selected her favourite, she was free to continue her journey escorted by the boy she had chosen. Nimble witted girls used to combine and all choose one boy, usually the ugliest or dullest, and there
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