Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #345) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #345)
Transcript: The government acknowledged the success of the boycott by appointing a commission to enquire into the whole matter after it had repeatedly refused this demand previously. South African agriculture has for three centuries relied heavily on semi slave labour and no substantial changes can be expected until white supremacy is removed and a democratic government established. Nevertheless the commission recommended some small improvements, some of which the government accepted and the most brazen atrocities were at least checked.
In a great campaign it is often difficult to determine the exact moment when it should be called off and many people tend to be too ambitious and in the process exagerate the strength and endurance of the people while underestimating that of the enemy. The result is to push the people to the point of exhaustion and to allow a campaign to peter out on its own.
It is a mistake to start any demonstrations without settling the question whether it is a matter of principle demanding a fight to the finish or a protest to be called off at an appropriate moment. The exact course we choose to follow is determined by the conditions and the former is permissible only if there is a fair chance of victory. To insist on it irrespective of the circumstances is to invite disaster and must be avoided. A good lesson in this regard was the Defiance Campaign. The ideal moment to have called it off was when the campaign had reached its peak and enthusiasm was widespread. Instead it was allowed to go on; and when it was eventually formally called off it had already begun to wane. We had missed the psychological moment.
Extent and Medium: 1 page