From the book: Side by Side by Helen Joseph
Two of our most loved women leaders, Mary Moodley and Lilian Ngoyi, died at the end of the 1970s. They had both dedicated their lives to the struggle for freedom, "sparing nothing of their strength or courage . . ."
Mary Moodley, a prominent founding member of the Federation of South African Women, died in October 1979. She had been one of the stalwarts of the Federation throughout its history. Coloured, she had also been on the executive of the South African People's Organisation and an active trade union organiser. It was not this that endeared "Auntie Mary" to us; it was her courage, her compassion, her boundless love for all around her ”” and her gaiety. But Mary would also weep with those who came to her in sorrow.
She told me once how when she was in gaol, in solitary confinement, she even danced in her cell to keep her spirits up. For the whole of her sixty-five years, she had laughed and loved her way through life. She knew no differences of race or colour, nor even differences within the organisations of the liberation struggle itself. Black consciousness supporters. Congress Alliance stalwarts, radical left-wing politicals, in some way Mary was part of them all. It was this solidarity that brought 700 people of many organisations together to wear the ANC colours at Mary's funeral. They paid tribute to her, crowding into a hall in a coloured location, together with the people of her own neighbourhood, now bereft of the beloved Auntie Mary.
When I came to the platform to pay my last tribute to her, I saw the Congress flags, black, green and yellow, on the walls, on the platform, draped over Mary's coffin. Women wore their Federation green blouses and black skirts. Before I began to speak, the women led the mourners in singing, not a funeral hymn but songs to welcome me, for I had not been with them for many years. I knew then that the spirit of the Federation, which had brought us together in the 1950s, was not dead. It would live on in the hearts of the women, it was recognised by the men -and accepted by them as part of the liberation struggle. It would remain.
Banned for nearly twenty years, harassed continually by the police, detained, Mary had remained gallant and undaunted. We laid her weary body to rest to the freedom songs of her people.
Less than six months later, Lilian Ngoyi, our greatest Federation leader, died very suddenly. She had been ill for some months and in hospital for part of the time, but she had seemed to be regaining her health. She had visited me and I thought that she might soon be her old vital self again. But that was not to be. On
12 March 1980 Lilian died.
Lilian's earlier bans had expired in 1972 and were not renewed for three years. Friends brought her to me as soon as she was free and there we were, sitting together on my verandah, as though there had never been ten years silence between us. It had been a bitter time for her but she had survived it. She still seemed ageless: her vitality and her fire were undimmed. She told me of her plans to travel, to go to Durban, to Cape Town to stay freely in other people's houses again, to catch up on what had been happening during her empty years. We were together again, but we were not going to be able to meet as freely as we should like because she had no transport and as a white I could not go into any African township without a permit. At least we knew that when the opportunities did come, there would be no barriers.
We had worked side by side in the exciting years of the 1950s, had been to gaol together, had been tried for four and a half years for high treason together and had been acquitted together. House arrest and bans had separated us on and off for the past twenty-five years. Only very occasionally had it been possible for us to meet, secretly, but the ties of our friendship had never been broken.
In 1975 Lilian was banned again, though less severely than before. She was still forbidden to attend political meetings but she could communicate with her friends and we met sometimes. The news other death in 1980 was a great shock to me and I felt a sick rage when I received a telephone call only half an hour after I learnt of it. The voice was the usual one, "I hear that Lilian Ngoyi has passed away ... I am so glad." I put the receiver down without speaking. Subsequently a friend answered the phone while I was out. "Tell Helen that Lilian Ngoyi is waiting for her."
Her death brought great sorrow to Soweto. "Ma Ngoyi" they called her there. "Ma" is a designation of great respect and love. In her little Orlando home, despite her bans. Lilian had remained a central figure.
I went to Orlando for her funeral, remembering that day we had led 20.000 women to Pretoria to protest against passes, the day she had called for thirty minutes of motionless silence and then led the women in the singing of "Nkosi Sikelele". At her funeral we sang it again but her voice was silent.
The large church was packed with people and bright with Congress colours. Six women of the Federation and the African National Congress Women's League maintained a guard of honour in their green blouses and black skirts, standing still and silent on each side of the coffin where she lay under the Congress flag.
It was a gathering of the old members of the ANC and the Federation and the Women's League, but they were joined by the young. As at Mary's funeral, all differences disappeared and young and old, black consciousness and Congress, joined together in tribute. I joined the guard of honour beside the coffin for a little while before the women carried it out of the church, Amina Cachalia's green and yellow sari brilliant among them. A moving announcement had been made. "Lilian Ngoyi lived a life of great simplicity and we shall bury her in simplicity. The coffin will be borne on a cart drawn by two horses."
A thousand people walked behind her, five miles to the cemetery. All the way, the people of Soweto came out of their houses to wave their farewell to her as she passed, giving her the Amandla salute, the clenched fist of strength and struggle. I did not try to walk the five miles. Father Leo Rakale drove me in his car, very slowly, at the back of the procession. I did not know then that within three months this kindly priest, my close friend, would be dead.
The campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela followed soon after, spreading far and wide. Thousands of people signed forms demanding the release of Nelson and the other political prisoners; hundreds of thousands had Nelson's name on their lips and in their thoughts as never before.
NUSAS arranged a series of meetings on different university campuses. The theme was political resistance. I went to Cape Town and Pietermaritzburg Universities to speak to the students on the history of resistance, particularly in the 1950s. To my surprise, Pietermaritzburg students also invited me to defend socialism against capitalism in a public debate. I agreed, but very hesitantly, because I am no ideologue. I know where I stand, unequivocally alongside the Freedom Charter, but I am not quite sure where this places me in the politico-economic spectrum.
I applied myself to intensive study and reading for a couple of months and found that I had simply come out "by the same door wherein I went". For me the door to the future of South Africa is the Freedom Charter and just as it had stood for over twenty years against all assaults from all sides, so it could stand against capitalist or free enterprise arguments.
I hold that the present system must go, there must be economic justice and the only alternative is the Freedom Charter, that amalgam of the hopes and the heartaches of the people. Nothing has changed. The hopes and the heartaches are still the same as they were in 1955 when the charter declared, "Our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace."
Leon Louw, dedicated to the free enterprise system for South Africa, was my opponent. He was very articulate in the jargon of the political economist. On arrival on the campus I found the buildings plastered with notices announcing the debate, but there had been busy red paintbrushes smearing right across my photograph ”” and even by mistake across my opponent's, too. "Socialism is Communism! Traitor!" The epithet of traitor didn't mean much to me, for I had once stood trial with many others on a charge of high treason and we had all been acquitted.
I proposed the motion that only socialism could satisfy South Africa's future and spent a few lively minutes damning the evils of the capitalist system before proclaiming Freedom Charter socialism as the only alternative.
A vote had been taken at the beginning of the debate and only ninety-one people had voted for socialism while 130 had voted for capitalism. I had a strong seconder in John Aitcheson, like me, a formerly banned Christian. We had agreed that we could not hope to win, for whoever had heard of socialism winning an open debate against capitalism in South Africa?
Leon Louw, replying to me, complained that all I had done was to quote a banned document. This of course was not true. The Freedom Charter itself was not and never has been banned. Various printed reproductions of it have been banned from time to time as they appear, but like a phoenix, it arises every time from the ashes of such banning of the printed word and lives on.
There was prolonged discussion from the floor before the vote was taken again, which eventually resulted in eighty-eight votes for socialism and only eighty-six for capitalism! John and I hugged each other, but we knew that we had not really won anyone over to our viewpoint. It was just that the socialists had more stamina and the capitalists had gone home to bed.
Six months later I was asked to repeat my socialism performance at Wits University, this time opposed by another strong supporter of the free enterprise system. Once again events brought me to unexpected victory. On the morning of the debate I had a telephone call from someone who said that he was the President of the Students' Representative Council. He informed me that the time of the debate had been changed. It would now take place at two thirty p.m. and not at twelve thirty as arranged. I was surprised, therefore, when a car arrived at midday to take me to the university. When the confusion had been sorted out, we discovered that the telephone call had not come from the SRC President at all and that the debate was still due to start at twelve thirty ”” in fifteen minutes' time!
At first I was inclined to dismiss it as some right-wing student prank. I changed my mind when I had a telephone call in a very familiar voice, which said, "You old bitch, you're up to your shit again." What with all this, we reached the debate a little late but when the chairman explained to the audience what had caused the delay. I received applause before ever I said a word.
Almost all the audience were now clearly on my side and they had no time for my unfortunate opponent, who was hailed with hisses and boos. There was no need to take a vote at the end of this debate. Socialism had triumphed again, even it not by my eloquence.
In April 1980. 1 was seventy-five years old. I had the gayest of birthday weeks - not just a one-day birthday party ”” with friends and flowers, telephone calls and telegrams from all over inside and outside South Africa and all because I was seventy-five. For a number of years I had been thinking that it was time I bowed out from the political scene. The age gap grew wider every year, yet it had never become a generation gap and the students still called me to speak to them. But now, at seventy-five, surely I must accept my age and the young must accept it too? These were my thoughts, but I was soon to be proved wrong. I was still needed.
Four years had passed since the revolt of the Soweto schoolchildren against Bantu education, in 1976. It was three years since they had boycotted their schools demanding that this inferior education go before they would return. Promises had been given and the children had returned to school but the promises had not been kept. After all, they were only promises to black children. Nothing had really changed and the resentment simmered on.
In 1980 it was all happening again as coloured schoolchildren rejected the shoddy education, which the system handed out to them, and the conditions at their schools. The boycott began in the Cape and spread. In some areas black children joined in the boycott because they too still had their grievances. As the weeks passed, so the 1976 pattern re-emerged, restraint at first, then growing police violence, followed by violent retaliation from the students, evoking worse violence from the police.
Students on both black and white English-speaking university campuses boycotted lectures in sympathy, staging campus sit-ins for one or two days, even longer. So, seventy-five or not, within two weeks, I was speaking at Wits University on school boycotts.
Here for the first time I was the target of eggs and tomatoes flung by rightwing opponents. They were fairly far from the platform and their missiles didn't reach me. Bishop Desmond Tutu and I were the main speakers, just as we had been at that other meeting on the Wits campus four years ago, when the students marched out into the streets in sympathy with the Soweto schoolchildren.
I didn't mind the egg throwing, for the audience gave me a standing ovation when I had finished speaking. Four days later I was back on Pietermaritzburg campus, proud to be identified with this expression of solidarity with the boycotting schoolchildren. The boycott was spreading and intensifying and the Minister of Justice took sudden and drastic action against the leaders of the people. It was 1976 all over again as leaders, black, Indian, coloured and a few white students, were detained without trial. In Natal, several Indian leaders were detained, including the President, Vice President and executive members of the Natal Indian Congress.
A protest meeting was organised in Durban by the Natal Indian Congress and I was asked to speak there. On my arrival in Durban I was told that a very large crowd was expected but I did not anticipate anything like the reality. A total of 5,000 people, mostly Indian, came to that meeting, many standing outside the packed hall to listen through loudspeakers. Archie Gumede, veteran ANC leader of the 1950s, was in the chair and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Durban was one of the speakers. The wives of the detainees sat on the platform and each one was personally introduced to the audience. I was the last speaker and from the beginning of the meeting I could feel the excitement growing. I spoke of the great history of passive resistance and of the Natal Indian Congress, of the Freedom Charter and of the crime of detaining people without trial. I spoke of the need to speak out, to stand up and be counted. I ended, "And I do believe with all my heart that we shall overcome one day. That is my message to the detainees. Let it be yours, too."
All 5,000 people sang the American freedom fighters' song, "We shall overcome one day" with me. The sound poured out into the night and their hearts were in every line of it until they came to their feet in a great standing ovation. I was almost stunned, holding Archie's hand very tightly as we stood there, as we had stood more than twenty years before, in the days of the Congress Alliance. An Indian leader whispered to me, "Helen, you'll get banned for this!"
We sang "Nkosi Sikelele" and then it was all over. I had felt, deep in my heart, once again, that certainty that nothing could defeat the oppressed people of South Africa. I had felt it before at the Congress of the People and at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Such moments are rare, unforgettable. I could not have gone on if I did not believe that freedom would come. But this is more than belief; it is unshakeable knowledge.
That was 11 June 1980. Exactly two weeks later, I was served with a banning order. Not house arrest, not the multiplicity of earlier bans, but a direct attack on my association with the students, with the young.
The Minister of Justice was "satisfied that I engaged in activities which endanger or are calculated to endanger the maintenance of public order". He had, therefore, prohibited me for two years from attending:
a) any political gathering, that is to say any gathering at which any form of state or any principle or policy of the government of a state is propagated, defended, attacked, criticised or discussed;
b) any gathering of pupils or students assembled for the purpose of being instructed, trained or addressed by me.
It would be two years before, if ever, I should hear "Nkosi Sikelele" sung again and I was back, perhaps where I belonged, in the shadowy legion of the banned. It seemed absurd that at seventy-five I should be banned again. That was how the public saw it. "The joke of the century . . . what does this government have to fear from Helen Joseph?"
I had to admit that it was well aimed. The only channel of activity left open to me had been to address and attend meetings. I could not be published or quoted in South Africa, nor could I belong to any political organisations. Yet despite my anger, this new "mini" ban was an award of merit, for it was proof that I was not wasting the years left to me.
The student youth wanted to hear what I had to say, and particularly what I could tell them about the 1950s, that great decade of protest and challenge. I had lived through those years, been identified with the political struggle. Some who were with me then are now in gaol, some are dead, many are banned or listed and many have left South Africa. There are few here now who can say, as I can, ''I was there. I was part of it."
It was about all this that I spoke to students and others. I spoke also about the evils of our society and our duty to challenge them, resist them. I had not been charged with any offence arising out of my many speeches. Nevertheless I had been arbitrarily silenced. It was only for two years, but years are precious at seventy-five and there was no guarantee that the bans would not be renewed when I reached seventy-seven. Should I still be "dangerous" then? For that was what the ban said ”” that I endangered the maintenance of public order.
I wrote to the minister to ask for the reasons, which had induced him to issue the banning order. He replied that this information could, in his opinion, not be disclosed without detriment to public order. For me it was a meaningless reply but there was nothing more that I could do about it.
What we have in South Africa cannot rightly be called "public order". It is a violent rule by force, intimidation and oppression, the oppression of the many by the few. We live in the violence of detention and death as much as in the violence of the streets. Certainly I do not want to maintain this system. I want it changed. To say this is no crime. Yet I was punished as though I were a criminal ”” except that I had no trial. I am not alone in this. There are hundreds of us, black and white, thrust into the shadows of a twilight existence.
I was banned for just over 100 weeks in all. Twenty of them I spent clumping around in plaster and more than that on crutches, from a broken leg. That accounted for more than a quarter of the time. I suppose it also helped make the time pass that, during these months, I was in any event physically prevented from doing what I was forbidden to do ”” attend political meetings and address gatherings of students.
I found it painful to be back on the sidelines again after nine years of relative freedom, of being a part of what was going on. I was more fortunate in these bans because I was not prohibited from social gatherings, though it was difficult to pinpoint where my kind of social gathering might end and a political gathering begin. Friends very often came to my house, the old and the young, my colleagues of the 1950s and the young and defiant of today. Inevitably we discussed what was going on. What else would we talk about? Perhaps I should have retired to my loo at such points in the conversation, but I never did and thanks to my friends. I did not become isolated.
There were two Christmas Day parties during the banning period. My house and my garden were filled with friends. At midday, we drank our toast to those not with us, the banned, the banished, the detained and the prisoners. We drank to the end of oppression and the South Africa that is to come. We commemorated our dead heroes. Did that make it a political gathering, as we stood with our glasses raised and sang "Nkosi Sikelele"? I didn't know and I did not care.
In those two silent restricted years there was much of importance taking place in South Africa. For me, an exciting phenomenon was the re-emergence of women of all races to take their part as women, in the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa.
Perhaps Lilian's death and the great occasion of her funeral had something to do with it, for it was on 9 August 1980, our old National Women's Day, that this new strength of women began to appear. For almost twenty years we had remembered Women's Day only in our hearts and our minds, not publicly. But in 1980, suddenly, this day was being celebrated again openly in Durban, in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, with public meetings and a photographic exhibition. Press articles appeared commemorating that great protest of women to Pretoria, telling the history of the women of the 1950s.
In 1981 it was celebrated again, stronger than ever. New women's organisations had been formed during the intervening year and the name of the Federation of South African Women was once more on our lips. In April, Dora Tamana opened a large conference of women in Cape Town. Dora had belonged to the 1950s; she had been National Secretary of the Federation after Ray Alexander had been banned and until she herself was banned. She had travelled with Lilian to Europe, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Bans expire with the years and Dora made her comeback with an unforgettable call to all women:
You who have no work, speak,
You who have no homes, speak,
You who have no schools, speak,
You who have to run like chickens from the vulture, speak,
Let us share our problems so that we can solve them together . . .
I opened the road for you; you must go forward.
National Women's Day brought rousing conferences again in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, and this time Albertina Sisulu was free after seventeen years of bans, to address the women again. Despite all her anxiety over her husband on Robben Island, her son under house arrest, her daughter in exile; despite the uncertainty of how long she would be allowed to enjoy the longed-for freedom, Albertina had spoken, and she went on speaking for the next ten months, to women and to men, carrying the message of defiance and commitment. "I cannot fold my arms and watch the situation deteriorating... it has been going on for a long time and it must stop." She was banned again, but for those ten months she made her voice heard, loud and clear refusing to ban herself.
Students of the English language universities were neither silent nor idle. As always for the past two decades and longer, each generation of undergraduates produces its own radical core of young people, committed to the cause of freedom and democracy.
Just as there is a radical core amongst university students, so there is also a core of conservatives, calling themselves moderates, but they do not have a strong following. They invited Dr P.K. Koornhof, Minister of Co-operation and Development, to speak on the Wits University campus on the day before the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre ”” a highly provocative date to choose, for feelings run high in South Africa on this anniversary.
This action by the moderates incensed the Students' Representative Council and its many supporters. They attended the meeting and interrupted and heckled the minister into silence, taking action on the ground that when Mandela and Sisulu and other imprisoned leaders were allowed to exercise their democratic right to speak on the Wits campus, then the students would allow Dr Koornhof, the Nationalist government minister, to speak.
An explosive situation followed on campus with the University Council taking strong exception to the student action and the SRC President becoming the whipping boy. The message was clear. The university authorities were concerned about any possible effect upon the university income from government subsidies and other major financial sources.
I remain one of the Honorary Vice Presidents of NUSAS. The students I elected me every year even though I could not, as a listed person, accept the office. They came very frequently to my home, sometimes just to visit me, sometimes for serious discussion. Their presence always assured me of their loyalty and their determination not to leave me in isolation.
The government record of the past few years has continued to be as shameful as in the past. The minor cosmetic improvements for a few elite black people fade away before the onslaught of repressive legislation and action. Black people may now buy houses ”” at a price which very few can afford; more "international hotels" have been opened for racial social mixing. I usually still meet my black friends for fruit and sandwiches in a park, which is not frequented by the elite, black or white.
The shortage of houses for Africans in the cities and elsewhere is estimated to be rising steadily towards the half million mark. Before the end of the century, four million houses will be needed. The Nationalist government still seems to cherish the apartheid belief that Africans are only in the towns for the duration of their working life ”” maybe not as much in principle as before, but for sheer fright at the looming urban shortage of houses, a juggernaut which grows year by year.
The "fortunate" blacks still live in the little block township houses, which are incapable of meeting the needs of a growing family. The rents rise ever higher but the wages do not rise at the same rate. Transport costs for these far-flung townships for urban dwellers rise too, as do food costs. True, there are some black workers moving into better-paid, more skilled jobs. There is a growing professional and entrepreneurial black class, but the higher incomes cannot match inflation. This is of course true for all races, but it is always the African workers who bear the brunt.
The Group Areas Act still brings the eviction of whole families from Indian and coloured homes, and the inhuman mass removals of Africans from white areas into black dumping grounds still goes on ”” for that is what it is, inhuman beyond description. In the past twenty years, three million people have been so removed, and there are thousands still to go before South Africa can present the "orderly" pattern of segregation so dear to the Afrikaner heart.
All of this has been going on for years now and there is scant change for the better, nor prospect of it. It is a sad and sorry picture of people waiting for what should be a fundamental human right ”” the roof over the head of a man and his family.
What of the squatters ”” our infamous squatter "problem"? The polite name now is the "Relocation of Africans". It is a rose by another name, but it has the same peculiar smell, for the war on squatters is being pursued with unmitigated severity, especially in the areas outside Cape Town. Pre-dawn arrests, raids, destruction of shelters ”” all this is the order of the day in the desperate attempt by the authorities to stem the flood of workless people and their families to the urban areas. "If you have a house, you may get permission to take a job. If you have a job, you may get permission to have a house." It is as simple as that, but it spells disaster to the work-seekers and the home-seekers who come from the impoverished rural areas, the "homelands". But "uncontrolled squatting is not to be tolerated". That is the government's policy.
There can be no secure family life as long as we still have 300 arrests daily for pass offences and influx control. A quarter of a century ago, 20,000 women went to the Union Buildings to protest against the issuing of passes to African women because they feared that African mothers would be torn from their families for lack of a pass. It has happened. Every year in South Africa 28,000 African women are arrested for some offence relating to passes. I don't know if they are all mothers; statistics don't tell you that, but probably most of them are.
It all makes nonsense of government claims of reduced pass raids, for the figures do not diminish year by year. In fact they rise ”” together with the population increase. In 1982 the Minister of Co-operation and Development announced a "new deal" for urban blacks. It was enshrined in a parliamentary Bill, pompously and cynically entitled, "The Orderly Removal and Settlement of Black Persons Bill". There was not much new about it, not for blacks, fork gave the minister power to override the few court decisions which had recently brought some remedy to the plight of black urban dwellers.
Sabotage or terrorism? It depends which way you look at it. ANC sabotage of installations and buildings has multiplied and continued. This left-wing political violence mushrooms overnight, goods trains are derailed, power stations and installations blown up, even police stations and a bank attacked, also a military base. Sometimes there has been loss of life, but the attacks are against the buildings, which are symbols of the oppressive regime. Political trials follow, horrific, even death sentences are imposed. I think always of the tip of the iceberg, that is all we can see, the tip, but the iceberg is growing and I do not know when it will surface.
There has been right-wing violence a-plenty, too; homes bombed and shot at, bricks hurled through windows and windscreens. I had a bullet again through my bedroom window, this time skimming the top of my perspex protection screen. It went into the top comer of the window and did little damage beyond a broken pane of glass. Policemen came disinterestedly, patently to look for the bullet, but they knew as well as I did that nothing would come of their investigations. Telephone calls, hoaxes, threats, for me and a few others, all these are a part of our daily lives. It is difficult to know what satisfaction they give to the perpetrators, for it disturbs us very little.
The horrors of detention without trial have manifested themselves sharply again, as students, student leaders, trade unionists and workers and others too, are picked up at dawn and taken away into the unknown, cut off completely from family and friends.
In 1982 there was a profoundly important and unprecedented development. Parents and friends of the detainees formed themselves into committees to affirm their trust and confidence in the detainees, to protest against the injustice of detention without trial, to demand external medical attention when required, to fight for better conditions for the detainees ”” yet not only each for his own but all for all and all for one, if need be.
There was need, tragic searing need. Dr Neil Aggett, still in his twenties, was found dead in his cell. Was it suicide? Was it murder? Did he really die by hanging? Neil was a doctor, but he had given almost all of his waking hours to the trade union movement. Many thousands came to his funeral in St Mary's Anglican Cathedral in the centre of Johannesburg. They came from all parts of South Africa, trade unions predominant and, as for Lilian Ngoyi; the mourners walked behind his coffin to the cemetery ”” but this time defiantly through the city streets at the peak traffic hour. The traffic had to wait while the workers took their young hero to his grave. Neil Aggett was the forty-seventh man to die in his detention cell in eighteen years, but he was also the first white man to die in detention.
An inquest was held. It was the only current source of public information on detainees' gaol conditions, unless more came to light in trials of detainees. The government's reaction to this horror was to clamp down in terms of the Police Act and forbid the press to publish any information whatsoever about the helpless people in detention. Can we get any nearer to the Gestapo methods of Nazi Germany?
The Aggett inquest itself was a mirror held up by a fearless senior advocate, George Bizos, to reflect the unimagined depths of depravity, brutality and destruction employed by the security police.
All this and much else has been taking place, while I lived, frustrated, in a political twilight. I was able to do little beyond writing this book, the record of my thirty years of involvement in the liberation struggle. This helped to fill the days for me, and many nights too. Time did not hang heavily on my hands, but the frustration was indeed heavy on my spirit. When it was almost over I did not know what the morrow might bring. Freedom ”” or rather, what passes for freedom in this unfree society? Or another period of banning, at seventy-seven? But, after all, that is only two years older than seventy-five, so what difference should that make? I tried to be indifferent, but my ears were sharply tuned for the knock on the door and two men standing there with that deadly piece of paper. Or would no one come and the bans just fall away?