Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #34) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #34)
Transcript: when he uttered the last word he was almost resting on one knee. We all rose spontaneously to our feet and gave him a prolonged ovation. I, as a Xhosa speaking student, left the meeting feeling like a member of a chosen race. That was in 1938. In the early 1940s the University of Witwatersrand published an anthology of Mqhayi's poems. Here he spoke no longer as a Xhosa but as an African nationalist and as a people's poet. He dealt with the wars of liberation throughout the country, other important historical events, the African National Congress and the public figures who shaped our history all of which stressed our common destiny as Africans and the identity of our aspirations. This was the final image Mqhayi projected on one until his death a patriot speaking to a wide public. The image of the new Mqhayi resolved the conflict that had raised in my mind since the memorable occasion at Healdtown, namely, how to reconcile the message in which he praised the Xhosas above other ethnic groups with my experiences in Healdtown itself, and more especially in Johannesburg where I had come to realise that Africans were bound together by common aspirations. That anthology projected Mqhayi as a nationalist who used his pride as a Xhosa to reach out and voice the aspirations of the African people as a whole. To those of us who studied history as a subject, the spirit of nationalism aroused by Mqhayi was fanned by the equally rousing lessons we received from our teacher, Weaver Newana. He made the subject lively by adding to the standard text books information gathered from indigenous sources and when he dealt with the wars in the Eastern Cape the battlefields were very often places which were nearby and some of which I had come to know quite well. Meanwhile Reverend Mokitini was busy in introducing substantial reforms in regard to the conditions and treatment of students. These reforms related to the improvement of diet, relaxation of restrictions on student movements, inculcation of a sense of
Extent and Medium: 1 page