Long Walk- Part 6- Inspiring Mandela to Take More Aggressive Action

In the beginning of part 6, Mandela references a prayer that sticks out to him.  I find this prayer to be a very significant factor in the upcoming events in Mandela’s life.  As Mandela writes,

“The minister then said that if the Lord did not show a little more initiative in leading the black man to salvation, the black man would have to take matters into his own two hands. Amen” (265).

Mandela, living “underground” as a fugitive, was convinced that the ANC and other organizations would not be able to make significant changes in their current forms.  During this time, the communist party was reestablishing itself underground, and was contemplating forming an armed wing.  Mandela presented this idea to the ANC and it was initially rejected.  But Mandela contended that non-violence was not working and the ANC needed to take a more direct and forceful approach to solving these problems.

I believe what the minister said in the beginning of part 6 really inspired Mandela to form an armed wing of the ANC.  This statement from Mandela exemplifies his contention that violence was appropriate;

“I was raising the issue of violence so soon after the treason trial, where we had contended that for the ANC nonviolence was an inviolate principle…I myself believed precisely the opposite: that nonviolence was a tactic that should be abandoned when it no longer worked” (272).

In 1961 Mandela formed an armed wing of the ANC known as Umkhonto we Sizwe, translated to mean the spear of the Nation. The goal of this group was to sabotage.  Mandela did not want to harm any innocent people or start a war between black and white, but send a message that blacks were not going to allow themselves to be treated as inferiors any longer.

On December 16, 1961 they carried out their first attack, on Dingane’s day, exploding bombs at power stations and government buildings around Johannesburg.  As Mandela said, this was a message that the “ANC was no longer an organization of passive resistance, but a powerful spear that would take the struggle to the heart of white power” (285).


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