Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #427) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #427)
Transcript: I was the first member of the Congress movement to stay in Rivonia. Its spacious grounds, the central position of the cottage and the bushes that surrounded it isolated it from the neighbourhood and made it suitable in many respects as the headquarters of an underground organisation. For some time I lived there alone, cooking and making tea for the builders who were extending he outbuildings and repairing the place and for the painters. My cover name was Davis Motsamayi.
My disguise made me look less than ordinary and I enjoyed being treated with condescension, with everyone calling me "waiter" and not bothering to know whether or not I had a name and sending me about on the farm. Many people have painted an idealistic picture of the equalitarian nature of African society and whilst this is true, saying just that can be quite misleading.
To be sure there were no economic classes in our society and the land and its natural wealth was the common property of the whole community. All men above a certain age group were free to take part in political meetings and to influence policy as they wished. In that sense the principle of human equality formed the fabric of society. But social groups existed even amongst those who were entitled to take part in political gatherings and birth, personal wealth, prowess and ability led to the rise of social categories, bringing with them all the social problems connected with the concepts of chief and commoner, rich and poor. Industrialisation has introduced the urban African to the outlook of the white man and he has become even more conscious of status. To those builders and painters I was outside their trade, an inferior, a mere waiter. As a politician and professional man who was used to all the publicity that surrounds a public figure, I enjoyed the
Extent and Medium: 1 page