Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #477) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #477)
Transcript: Jacques saw me off at the airport as I flew across the Sahara to Bamako, the capital of Mali, in the company of Jibo Barkry (spelling?). The capital seemed ot be a Keita family reserve. Ambassador Dialo in Cairo had already paved my way. I contacted Lamine Keita, a graduate of Moscow and Lincoln Universities who had taught at the Cairo University and who was a member of his country's UN team. On a Saturday he introduced me to Defence Minister Madeira Keita and a contributor to "Fighting Talk", the South African progressive magazine, and the following Monday I met President Modibo Keita, with Lamine interpreting in flawless English. On a bookcase behind the President was an ivory bust of Lenin which set a train of speculation in my mind. Was the President an African socialist, admirer of the leader of the Bolshevik revolution or a marxist, I asked myself. But it would be a blunder at formal diplomatic interviews to trty to fish out the political beliefs of a Head of State besides what his public speeches already projected.
I also met Dudu Geyiye (spelling?), acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and general secretary of the Pan African Congress of Journalists. "Where is Brian Bunting?" he asked me in English and Brian's name so far from Cape Town sounded like a dream. "Tell him I am cross with him for not sending me my "New Age". Although I was offered the opportunity to flying to Timbuktu I was unable to accept the invitation. I knew very little about West Africa and Bamako offered me the opportunity of collecting material about the countries I was still to visit. I consoled myself with a stroll to the river Niger whenever I was saturated with facts and figures.
Security precautions in Guinea were strict. I was carrying an Ethiopian passport, a country that had
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