Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #158) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #158)
Transcript: At no time during the course of this campaign did we think we could beat the government. From the outset we knew that the outcome would depend mainly on who commanded the power to ram down his will and plans on the other. An unarmed and voteless population could not be expected to check the schemes of a tyrannical regime that regarded force as the normal way of dealing with our people and our organisations. On the first day an imposing force of no less than 4,000 heavily armed policemen cordoned off the township, forcibly loaded families and broke down the empty houses. About a week or so before that Congress leaders in the area were restricted and meetings banned.
Much was at stake for the people facing the removal and they fought stubbornly. But a purely negative strategy was not enough for the exploited tenants who were sick and tired of living under the humiliating conditions of acute congestion and rack renting, and who longed for an opportunity to have their own houses where they could lead better lives. Only by working out a positive plan, capable of solving their concrete problems and finding homes for themselves and their families, could encourage them to resist indefinitely. When they realised that we could neither stop the government forcing the people out of their homes or give htem houses elsewhere, they felt that further resistance would be pointless and the flow of people to Meadowlands increased. Nonetheless victory lies not only in defeating the enemy but in living up to expectations and putting up the good fight. We gave a good account of ourselves and made important gains. The Sophiatown branch, quite weak at the beginning of the campaign was by the spring of 1955 the strongest in the whole Transvaal and was sending out organisers to various parts of the province for fieldwork.
Extent and Medium: 1 page