Stuggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Stuggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Andrew Mlangeni remembered as a straight talker and humble man

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jul 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - Former Rivonia trialist and freedom fighter Andrew Mlangeni has been remembered as a straight talker, a man who was humbled and committed to public service.

Mlangeni died on Tuesday night following his admission to hospital for stomach complications.

His death has been marked as an end of an era as he was the last surviving Rivonia trialist.

Mlangeni's son, Sello Mlangeni, said his father's death came as shock even though he had been ill.

He said he would remember his father for his love of golf, but he said recently his father was concerned about the rising cases of gender-based violence.

"He was asking why are South African men doing this? He was concerned about gender-based violence," Mlangeni junior said in an interview with eNCA.

The ANC described Mlangeni's death as a "giant tree" falling.

The organisation, which Mlangeni had been a member of since the early 1950s, said it will remember him for his contribution to the struggle. It said in a statement on Wednesday that the best way to honour him was to continue to serve society.

"This stalwart and veteran of our liberation struggle made a huge contribution in the struggle for liberation, reconstruction and development of our nation and the renewal and rebuilding of our movement. He served as our conscience and fountain of wisdom as we continued to navigate the many challenges that confronted our movement and nation.

"The best tribute we can pay to this stalwart of our movement is to continue to work tirelessly in pursuit of the kind of society for which he sacrificed most of his life. This will be a fitting tribute to this servant of our people who dedicated his entire life to these ideals," the party said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said he had first met Mlangeni in 1989 shortly after his release from Robben Island - where served 27 years of his prison sentence.

Holomisa said Mlangeni was humble but was a straight talker. He said he will be remembered for his strong principals of being against corruption.

"We can not say we will never have a person like him in South Africa. Mr Mlangeni was one of the few who kept reminding us about the need to deliver services and deal with corruption," Holomisa said in an interview with eNCA.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte shared similar sentiments.

"He was a man we went to for advice. He made great contributions to our freedoms. Uncle Andrew was forthright and never afraid to speak his mind even when he was in an ANC meeting. He was straightforward. He was one of the few people I know who did not want to be a minister. He stayed in Parliament for several years," Duarte said.

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