Johannesburg - The mother of the late freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu has died, the African National Congress said on Wednesday.
“The ANC has learnt with deep sadness of the passing of the mother of the late Solomon Mahlangu today (Wednesday) in the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria,” said spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
He said President Jacob Zuma had visited her at the hospital on Monday.
Mahlangu was a freedom fighter in her own right.
“Martha Mahlangu was constantly harassed by the police and security agents throughout before and after the execution of her son, Solomon, at the gallows in April 1979.”
She played a major role in supporting families of those who were facing execution, and was a pillar of strength as someone who had experienced the trauma of losing a son at the brutal hands of the apartheid regime, he said.
“Together we will move South Africa forward to ensure that the ideas Martha Mahlangu cherished; fought, lived and died for, will never die,” Mthembu said.
Her son, Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu, was hanged at the Pretoria Central Prison on April 6, 1979.
He had been charged for the murder of two white civilians in Johannesburg two years earlier.
Mahlangu left the country in 1976 after the Soweto uprising, at the age of 19. He was sent to Angola, where he received military training.
A year later, he returned home as a member of the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).
He returned with a mission to join student protests commemorating the Soweto massacre.
He never made it to the protests. He and his team, Monty Motloung and George “Lucky” Mahlangu were accosted by police in Johannesburg, and in the gunfight that followed, two white civilians were killed.
George Mahlangu escaped. Solomon and Monty Motloung were captured. Monty was so brutally beaten during the course of his capture that he suffered severe brain damage leaving him unfit to stand trial.
Mahlangu had not fired a shot, but was left to face the murder charges alone.