page 316 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_316.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 10-316

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_316.jpg]

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  • 1976 - (Creation)

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page

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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existed in the Eastern Cape since the Defiance Campaign in 1952. There was no systematic plan of campaign, no inspection of the stock kept by shopkeepers, hardly any list was kept either of those businessmen who responded nor of those who failed to do so and there were no pickets organised to carry the message to the actual customers. In spite of this and thanks mainly to the widespread influence of the Congresses and the high level of political consciousness among the masses, the boycott caught on. Within a short time the blacklisted products began to disappear from Indian and African shop windows and shleves. Company travellers turned back from shops without orders. Congress offices received reports of spontaneous boycotts often from remote and unlikely areas.

Although we could boast of several strongholds in the rural areas the boycott as a whole was concentrated in the cities and never really penetrated deep into the countryside. This has always been our weakest link and in spite of persistent efforts to strengthen our forces there, we have throughout remained relatively ineffective.

Nevertheless the Nats were shaken and they who only 9 years before had organised a boycott of Indian businesses and whipped up anti Indian feelings in the country now loudly squeeled when the same weapon was turned agaisnt them and accused us of stirring up racial strife when we did no more than what they have always regarded as legitimate action on their part. They appealed to the government for protective measures. But while the Nat politicians were making threats the attitude of the affected firms was influenced by the effect of the boycott on sales and profits and when these continued to fall they sought an amicable settlement which led to the calling off of the boycott.

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