Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #136) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #136)
Transcript: experience under him. In August 1952 I opened my own office in the city with Zubeida Patel as my secretary. She attracted a lot of work to the firm and was invaluable in setting th new business on its feet.
As a result of my conviction in the Defiance case the Incorporated Law Society of the Transval applied to the Supreme Court for my name to be struck off the roll of attorneys on the ground that the political activities for which I was convicted amounted to unprofessional conduct. This was a grave mistake on the part of the Law Society and that application brought me more friends than I expected. When one is personally involved in a matter, one is likely to grasp the related issues more clearly than when one is merely an observer from a distance. Now I could understand the tremendous possibilities in the often repeated statement that the rule of law is the kernel of democratic government and that the courts are the guardians of civil liberties. Whether or not the rule of law applies and the courts fulfill their function depends on the social conditions in each country. The law is an instrument the ruling class uses to shape society in a mould favourable to its own interests and the duty of the courts is to apply the law as it is. The courts enjoy such discretion as the ruling classes allow, and it is within that framework that the rule of law is said to apply and that the courts serve as guardians of civil liberties.
In our country where there are racial laws and where all the judges and magistrates are white and reeking of the stale odour of racial prejudice the operation of such principles is very limited, especially in cases of a clash between black and white interests. The position is made the more
Extent and Medium: 1 page