Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #520) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #520)
Transcript: by word. You, he said, are now on Robben Island, not in the Transvaal. You must carry out orders as given by the authorities. There followed the contemptuous order in Afrikaans to trot "trap". If there is a man upon whom I can rely in a case of emergency where courage is required that man is Steve. He and I walked in front and whispered to each other that we should walk normally. We were of one mind to fight and settle the whole issue of our attitude with the prison authorities right on the spot. We were not going to trot like cowed slaves. Our behaviour did not please Kleynhans. He called us to halt, ordered us to march faster and warned us of the serious consequences that would follow if we failed to obey his order. We maintained our composure and resumed walking as before. We came to newly built large cell. The floor was covered with water. There could be no mistake. It had been deliberately wetted. We were ordered to strip naked and our clothes were thrown on to the damp floor. In the midst of the strip search four officials in plain clothes walked in. One of them sharply asked Aaron why he was wearing such long hair, and before Aaron could reply, he turned towards me "like this boy". I protested immediately and told him that the length of our hairs was determined not by him but by the prison regulations. The official stepped towards me in a threatening attitude and I warned him that if he so much as touched me I would take him to the highest courts and ruin him. He stopped and demanded my prison ticket. While he examined it he demanded my name and particulars as to how long I was serving. I told him that he would find all that information on the ticket. At every turn we appeared to be heading for a collision. At this stage one of the officials walked out of the cell and his colleagues followed him. Only the three warders who escorted us remained. The search completed, they walked out leaving behind threats to discipline us the next day.
Extent and Medium: 1 page