Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #519) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #519)
Transcript: banished by Van Riebeeck to Robben Island at the end of the 1658 War between the Khoi Khoi and the Dutch. The honour is even more fitting in that Autshumayo was also the first and so far the only person to successfully escape from the Island. After several attempts he finally succeeded in making his break in an old boat that was ridden with holes and considered completely unsea worthy. At different times many other patriots and freedom fighters found themselves held prisoner on Robben Island. Heroes like Maqoma, who was commander in the so called Fifth Xhosa War of 1834, Langalibalele, the Hlubi Chief who was sentenced for High Treason by a special court in Natal in 1873, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Mantura, a political exile from Java are part of the history of the Island. Just as the Portuguese colonialists gave a unique place in history to the Island of Fernando Po by imprisoning their numerous African patriots, the British held Indian patriots on the Andaman Islands, and in the same way as the French held Ben Bella on Island, so to have the rulers of South Africa determined that Robben Island should live in the memory of our people.
Robben Island onetime leper colony, second World War naval fortress guarding the entrance to Cape Town harbour a tiny outcrop of limestone, bleak, windswept and caught in the wash of the cold Benguella current, whose history counts the years of our people's bondage. My new home.
We arrived at Cape Town docks late in the afternoon. The Robben Island section of the docks was swarming with plain clothes officials turned out to give us a "big reception". On alighting at the Island we were given a dose of tough talk by the warden in charge of us Kleynhans, who turned out to be one of a group of brothers whose brutality towards political prisoners was to become a
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