Chapter 13 of the unpublished autobiography written on Robben Island. It covers Nelson Mandela's trip to various countries in Africa soliciting support for the armed struggle.
Show lessRead more
Title: Around Mother Africa
Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #434)
Date: 1976, 1975
Date Created: 1976
Transcript: Chapter 13: Around Mother Africa.
I was part of a crowd of guests, foreign diplomats and military missions, many generals, pressmen with TV cameras that stood around a famous statesman who sat on a raised platform draped with flags and overlooking a large square. The hushed atmosphere was disturbed several times by the zoom of low flying jet planes that circled above the area.
Soon after our arrival we heard the distant sound of a bugle and thereafter faint music from a brass band accompanied by the beating of drums. Gradually the music became clearer and we could hear the synchronised thud of many feet. Suddenly from the corner on our extreme right a lieutenant with an upright and shining sword emerged at the head of about 500 black soldiers marching 4 deep and each carrying a riffle. Oneither side of the lieutenant was a soldier bearing a flag.
It was beautiful to see them looking neat and straight and marching with perfect timing as they went down along the wall to our right. At the corner they turned along the wall directly opposite us, up along the left one and turned to pass straight before us. When the vanguard was almost abreast of the platform order rang out in a language I could not understand and the lieutenant and the flag bearers saluted by dipping sword and flags. The smartness with which the salute was executed drew spontaneous applause from the crowd.
The column marched past and repeated the whole process, but this time when the lieutenant came