Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #33) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #33)
Transcript: man in a kaross and carrying two spears entered, followed by the Governor himself. The sight of a black man coming in through a door which was reserved for the Governor only electrified us. But his physical appearance was even more symbolic and brought in to the assembly hall the fire and fascination of African nationalism. Even before he spoke we were conscious of the spirit of challenge and conflict that gripped us. Those spears and kaross reminded us that we had our own history and culture which at once became the centre of attention as Mqhayi sat confidently next to the Governor on the stage. Mqhayi began his speech quietly. As he warmed up one of the spears accidentally struck a curtain wire on the stage. He immediately took up this incident and described it as symbolizing a clash between the culture of Africa and that of Europe and predicted a momentous victory for the indigenous culture. His boldness in speaking frankly on such delicate matters in the presence of the Governor and other whites not only swelled our pride, but also showed that a black man could challenge the authority of the all powerful white man. He resumed his theme and recited the well known poem where he divides the stars amongst the nations of the world. To the people of Europe, he gave the milky way, but sharply criticized them as people who fight over even what is enough for all. After attending to the nations of Asia and other sections of the African people in our country, he called upon the Xhosas and allocated them the Morning Star the most important of the stars, he claimed. For this, he said, was the star for counting the years the years of manhood. Throughout the recital Mqhayi moved about on the stage, darting forward, waving the spears, dramatically modulating his voice. When he reached that part where he addressed himself to the Xhosas, even his stance and tone changed radically. He stood in one place and as he deliberately dragged his words, he steadily pulled himself downwards so much so that
Extent and Medium: 1 page