Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Long Walk To Finish the Book

15 months ago I was given a big book. The autobiography of Nelson Mandela. It's 751 pages. 15 months on, I'm on page 324.

Even at this early stage I'm struck by his determination to just keep going no matter what. I expect this admiration will only grow further as I read on. I am yet to reach his major stint of imprisonment but have already been shocked by some of his early prison experiences. The following situation took place - would you believe it - less than fifty years ago:

The first stipulation was that there could be no physical contact between white and black prisoners, and between male and female prisoners. The authorities erected an iron grille to seperare Helen and Leon (whites) from us and a second partition to seperate them from Lilian and Bertha (as African women). Helen needed to be seperated from Lilian because of colour, and from us because of sex and colour. Even a master architect would have had trouble designing such a structure. In prison we were seperated from each other by this elaborate metal contraption.

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