Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #561) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #561)
Transcript: In the face of this solid wall of protest and representations the government was shaken and realised that if we were executed one day the peole of South Africa would go so far as to dig up their bones from the graves and hang them publicly for their sins.
Although it was a tense moment when the judge finally delivered his sentence it was a source of encouragement to see that it was not the accused in the dock who were visibly nervous but the judge himself. The whole of South Africa and the world tensely awaited the verdict and the unprecedented step was taken to have it broadcast directly from the court. The judges voice was barely audible as he pronounced sentence of life imprisonment and quickly left the court. Among the spectators there was a sigh of relief and many hurriedly left the court to convey the news to the excited throng outside. Verwoerd told parliament that the judgement of the court had not at all been influenced by the telegrams of protest and representations that had come from various parts of the world. In spite of what his Minister of Justice had told Alex Hepple he hypocritically boasted that his government did not interfere with the courts functions and had left the entire decision to the judge. He commented on the remarkable fact that for the first time in the history of South Africa the government had received representations from the Communist countries asking them not to pass a capital sentence and added that these countries had done this because their men were involved. He bragged that the government had thrown these telegrams into the waste paper basket. De Villiers Graaf regretted that we had not been charged with plain treason instead of sabotage, because the world would have better realised how lenient was the court's judgement.
Extent and Medium: 1 page