Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #189) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #189)
That historic pageant was far larger and more representative of the women of South Africa than another memorable procession of women also held during the month of August in 1915 and that marched to Pretoria to petition the Governor General to release rebels sentenced for high treason. While the government of the day received the delegation from the latter and even released the rebels long before the expiration of their sentences, it refused 41 years later even to meet the representatives of the Federation whose grievances were far more genuine and demands more just. The difference between the two events is simple. It was a case of blood being thicker than water. In 1915 the government was confronted by white women, Afrikaner women at that, demanding the release of white rebels. But the 1956 demands came from a mixed organisation which was nevertheless predominately black, with only a handful of white women, and whose demands were against racial discrimination. South African governments rarely receive black women who do not start from the premise that they are inferior to whites and who regard all human beings as equal. Perhaps it is because of her role, particularly in this demonstration, that the Nationalist government has never forgiven Helen Joseph. With their racial prejudice and comtempt for black they invariably assume whenever black adnd white work together the latter must think for the former. She was the first person in the country to be house arrested and she also lost her job as secretary of the Industrial Council of the Clothing Industry.
Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi have many common characteristics. Both are strong personalities,
Extent and Medium: 1 page