Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #521) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #521)
Transcript: Some men sooth their tingling nerves with silence, others need words. Steve began to speak. We have provoked the "boere" (Afrikaners) he said, and would be in for an extremely rough time. He appealed to us to stand together and argued that it was necessary that we establish that we are human beings and that we are not prepared to submit to any nonsence from the authorities during our stay on the Island. He was still speaking when a lieutenant walked in. The lieutenant addressed us politely. He warned us not to speak to any other people and not to even peep through the windows. He remarked that all of us had clean records and, turning to Steve, "except this one". "You have a filthy record and you will have to try and do better on this Island". Steve exploded. "Who are you to talk to me like that? You say I have a filthy record. You read your files. You will find that all those convictions were in respect of cases where I was fighting for the rights of my people in prison. I am a member of the most revolutionary party in the world, the Communist Party and have a ddistinguished record of service to the community. I am even better known than your State President. You I don't even care to know who you are". That silenced the lieutenant who left after warning Steve that if he uttered those words again he would have him charged. The next morning the official with whom I had clashed returned, this time in uniform and we discovered that he was Captain Gericke. Now he was all politness. It was difficult to believe that this was the same man. Later we also discovered that the first of the plain clothes men to walk out that first evening during my altercation with Gericke was Col. Steyn, the officer commanding. It turned out subsequently that Gericke played a leading role in the brutalities against political prisoners on the Island. During the Rivonia trial this same Gericke turned up at the Pretoria Local Prison where he
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