Page 1 of a letter written by Nelson Mandela to Duggie Lukhele
Title: To Duggie Lukhele
Original Language: English
Transcript: August 1, 1970
My dear Duggie,
Our children, Zeni & Zindzi, aged 11 & 10 respectively, are at “Our Lady of Sorrows,” a Roman Catholic boarding school at Hluti. We are extremely disturbed because, since Zami’s detention on May 12 last year, we have heard nothing about them. Information reached me that they spend their holidays with Allan. I should have like to write directly to him & wife, to thank them for the hospitality, but I am not sure whether, having regard to his present position, I am free to do so. I like them to know that Zami & I are sincerely grateful. I believe Mrs Birsky, now lecturing in a British university, had arranged scholarships for the children at Waterford for next year. I have written them 3 letters & sent a birthday card, but none seems to have reached. Please investigate & give me a detailed report, preferably by registered letter, at your earliest possible convenience. Letters from me hardly ever reach destination & those addressed to me fair [fare] no better. I am hoping that the remorseless fates, that consistently interfered with my correspondence & that have cut me off from my family at such a critical moment, will be induced by consideration of honour & honesty to allow this one through. I know that once it reaches your hands my troubles will be virtually over.
You know that I am essentially a rustic like many of my contemporaries, born & brought up in a country village with its open space, lovely scenery & plenty of fresh air. Although prior to my arrest & conviction 8 years ago I lived for 2 decades as a townsman, I never succeeded in shaking off my peasant background, & now & again I spent a few weeks in my home district as a means of recalling the happy moments of my childhood. Throughout my imprisonment my heart & soul have always been somewhere far beyond this place, in the veld & the bushes. I live across these waves with all the memories & experiences I have accumulated over the last half century – memories of the grounds in which I tended stock, hunted, played, & where I had the privilege of attending the traditional initiation school. I see myself moving into the Reef in the early forties, to be caught up in the ferment of the radical ideas that were stirring the more conscious of the African youth (Incidentally it was at this stage that I first met Allan, then a clerk at Union College). I remember the days when I served articles, licking stamps, daily running all sorts of errands, including buying hair shampoo & other cosmetics for white ladies. Chancellor House! It was there that OR & I became even more intimate than we were as College mates & as [Youth] Leaguers. Around us there developed new & fruitful friendships – Maindy, Zubeida Patel & Winnie Mandleni, our first typists; the late Mary Anne, whose sudden and untimely death greatly distressed us; Ruth, Mavis, Godfrey; boxing Freddy & Charlie the upright & popular caretaker & cleaner who never missed a day at Mai-Mai. For some time you battled almost alone & against formidable difficulties to keep the firm afloat when OR and I were immobilised