Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #596) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #596)
(7) When we came to prison some of us knew one another, but we had met mainly in the course of our political work and had never lived closely with one another as now. Most of us had never met before and naturally we tried to have more than superficial knowledge of one another. One of my fondest hobbies has been to listen to biographical accounts narrated my each individual. Few things are more exciting to me here than to listen to a man's background, the factors that influenced his thoughts and actions, the unknown life battles he has fought and won, how he joined the struggle, his views on current issues and how ge visualises a South Africa modelled on the Freedom Charter. Apart from the question of pure interest in my colleagues the knowledge of a man's background becomes quite essential for the purpose of our political work. It becomes relatively easier to allocate tasks to persons best qualified to make a success of it, to appreciate their weaknesses and mistakes and to be able to anticipate their reactions to specific problems and situations. Many of our men are widely travelled, an experience that has broaded their outlook and that makes every conversation with them enjoyable. As at August 1975 there were 24 members of the Congress movement in the Singel Cells Section and all but 8 had travelled abroad, some in Africa, others in Europe and still others in Asia, whilst quite a handful have travelled in all 3 continents. Two of the remaining 8 have at least been to the former protectorates. In D Section Benjamin Ramotse and his 8 colleagues have all been overseas. What is even more important 2 of my fellow prisoners Justice Mpanza and James April have had the distinction of having taken part in combat and of having given a good account of themselves. Of course we are not getting younger and memories are fading. I have
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