Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #319) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #319)
Transcript: June 26th is our national day. In 1957 we commemorated it as a "Day of Abstinence" by calling upon the people not to do any shopping, not to eat during the day, not to use electric lights in their homes, but to use candles instead, to display ANC flags, and to take part in bonfire ceremonies at night. A balloon carrying a huge ANC flag was released over Johannesburg. This novel form of demonstraiton was highly successful. Reporters from a daily newspaper in Johannesburg visited bazaars and shops in the centre of the city at the peak hours and found them empty. The only customers they found were whites. Indian shopkeepers in Johannesburg also reported "No business" for the day.
The coming into power of the Nats led to a stepping up of political activity by the oppressed people. It was widely realised that the country was heading for a confrontation and that nothing short of the highest sacrifices would stop the bunch of racialists who were now in power. Ironically it was during the Nat regime whose main policy was the separation of the various population groups, the smearing of our struggle for political rights as a conspiracy of international communism and the use of violence in dealing with our grievances that the unity of the black people in the country became solid, that a group of militant white democrats emerged and openly identified themselves with our struggles, that the liberation movement became a real force both locally and on an international plane. In spite of unprecedented measures of government repression the voice of protest has become ouder and louder and resistance more stubborn.
Extent and Medium: 1 page