Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #160) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #160)
Transcript: Second World War vigorously advocated this line. For the youth inside and outside our ranks this was the only answer. The night before the removals began Jo Modise addressed a meeting of more than 500 people who were waiting for a lead from us in accordance with the expectations aroused by our resounding slogan. In vain he reasoned with them showing how disastrous violence would be. We put our foot down and resisted this desperate demand, pointing out that an insurection was not just a demonstration of anger, but a serious matter requiring careful preparation, and that an uprising based upon a local issue would be suicide. When we rejected the whole idea of armed resistance we were heavily criticized for having misled the masses of the people by using a slogan we had no intention of putting into effect. As a result we lost the support of many young people in the area.
Only arm chair politicians are immune from committing mistakes. Errors are inherent in political action. Those who are in the centre of political struggle, who have to deal with practical and pressing problems, are afforded little time for reflection and no precedents to guide them and are bound to slip up many times. But in due course, and provided they are flexible and prepared to examine their work self critically, they will acquire the necessary experience and foresight that will enable them to avoid the ordinary pitfalls and pick out their way ahead amidst the throb of events.
The Western Areas anti removal campaign forcibly imprinted on us many valuable lessons. During the course of the campaign we came to realise the shortcomings of the slogan "Over our Dead Bodies". It was a dynamic slogan that caught the imagination of the people and fanned their
Extent and Medium: 1 page