Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #37) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #37)
Transcript: Hare introduced a course in interpreting with Tyamzashe, a retired court interpreter, in charge, I enrolled for this course. In athletics I was more active than I was at Healdtown and did well enough to be included in the College team that competed in the inter college sports at Lovedale in 1940. I was also drawn into the Debating Society and the Students Christian Association. Since my days at Healdtown I had been a sunday school teacher travelling in the surrounding villages and holding religious classes. I continued this work at Fort Hare. At the highest centre of education for Africans in the country at that time, the College attracted important visitors from inside and outside South Africa. In 1939 General Smuts, then Deputy Premier, visited the College and adressed that year's graduation ceremony. I can recall nothing particularly striking in his speech except that I considered it a great privilege to listen to a man acclaimed as a world statesman. Shortly after General Smuts had replaced General Hertzog as premier, Margaret Ballinger, a white politician who represented Africans in the all white Parliament, also adressed us. A student asked her bluntly: "Now that General Hertzog threatens to rise against the Government is it not likely that General Smuts will reduce him to physical atoms?" That question brought forth a sharp repartee, for which she was famous in Parliament, from the visitor. Today the demand for direct representation in Parliament has become so strong that if Margaret Ballinger were to visit Fort Hare she would certainly have a rough time. But in those days, and although the demand had been repeatedly made by black politicians, it had not become the burning issue it now is. Almost every student attended her meeting and she was well received. Nevertheless, the two visits sparked off a lot of political discussion among the students, but I was particularly struck by the views of a fellow student, Nyathi Khongisa, who condemned Smuts as a racialist and a pitiless oppressor, and Balliger as one of
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