Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #324) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #324)
Transcript: principal chiefs of the various sections of the African people were declared honorary vice presidents. From the outset the ANC was regarded as a national parliament in which all schools of political thoughts were welcomed and in which all parties could be affiliated. The strength of the ANC lay in its ability to bring under one umbrella the traditional and urban leadership and to exploit to the fullest extent the national sentiments of the African people.
But in 1927 the government changed the law in regard to the recognition of the chiefs and was thus able to put tremendous pressure on them to abstain from politics. This severely limited their scope and all but the most fearless disappeared from the organisation. By the end of the 30s the House of Chiefs was a relic of olden times and hardly any ruling chief was seen at national conferences.
In 1943 the organisation felt that an up to date constitution was required. The simple composition of the African people had drastically changed and the simple social organisation built around chiefs was crumbling rapidly with the use of modern industry and commerce and a substantial urban population had emerged living no longer on agriculture but on wages and salaries and on incomes earned as petty traders. The 1943 constitution was a short and simple document with 16 sections and covering only 4 pages. It reflected all these social changes. It eliminated the House of Chiefs altogether and was based squarely on the principle that leadership depends not on hereditary but on merit. The four provincial presidents automatically became vice presidents.
(N.B. Re 1957 constitution changes check detail)
Extent and Medium: 1 page