Chapter 3 of the unpublished autobiography written on Robben Island. It covers the period when he arrives in Johannesburg until he meets Walter Sisulu and Gaur Radebe and joins the African National Congress
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Title: In Johannesburg
Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #68)
Date Created: 1976
Transcript: radical changes and subseuent developments have confirmed the correctness of Gaur Radebe's views. The approach he advocated then has always strongly appealed to serious minded politicians and has been successfully used by revolutionaries throughout the world. Later on I became committed in matters of this nature and took a definite line. But the process of deciding was not simple and straightforward. For some time I hesitated on the side lines, uncertain what to do. Often I realised the full implications of what I had done, not before, but after taking the step. Equally important is the fact that throughout my political career I have repeatedly heard echoes of those lively discussions in the firm from men and women whose reactions to situations are influenced by their backgrounds, personal experiences, current interest and ambitions, but who may and often do respond positively once the problems and solutions are clearly and patiently explained.
Elsewhere in this story I refer to cicumcision as marking the end of childhood and the beginning of manhood. But the process of illusion and disillusionment is part of life and goes on endlessly. In the early 40s what struck me forcefully was the conflict between my expectations and actual experience. At College I had come to believe that as a graduate I would automatically be at the head leading my people in all their efforts. In a sense that was true of the majority of the Fort Hare students. Many of them left the lecture room straight to some cosy job, with a steady income and carrying a measure of influence. It is also true that graduates do enjoy the respect of the community especially in the field of education.
But my experience was qutie different. I moved in circles where common sense and practical