Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #84) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #84)
Transcript: travelling to address meetings and condemning government policy. During the Alexandra bus boycott I had joined others and walked to town and back. This was, however, a local demonstration, and apart from a handful of outside supporters, only the Alex residents were involved.
But in 1946 there occurred an event which shattered many of my illusions and forced me to recast my whole approach to my political work. The Smuts government passed the Asiatic Land Tenure Act which severely restricted the rights of Asians to buy and occupy fixed property and which made provision for their representation in Parliament by whites. The measure aroused the strongest reaction from all sections of the Indian community throughout the country and had world wide repercussions.
Dr. Y.M. Dadoo, president of the Transvaal Indian Congress, dismissed the whole measure as a "spurious offer of a sham franchise" and a "diabolical attempt to strangulate the Indian people economically and degrade them socially". In addition, the Indian community under the leadership of Drs. Dadoo and G.M. Naicker, president of the Natal Indian Congress, went over to the offensive and launched passive resistance to defeat the measure. Housewives, family heads, priests, professional men, traders and workers responded magnificently to the challenge. Even students suspended their studies to take their turn in the line of battle. The campaign raged for two years and the hostility of the people was so deep and unity so strong that the scheme was completely paralysed and, at the end of the campaign, no less than two thousand volunteers had been jailed.
Extent and Medium: 1 page