Struggle stalwarts Andrew Mlangeni. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA
Struggle stalwarts Andrew Mlangeni. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Struggle stalwart and last surviving Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni turns 95 on June 6

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - With South Africa in a battle against the global Covid-19 pandemic, an incredible milestone of one of the country’s foremost struggle stalwarts Andrew Mlangeni will be celebrated with a webinar in which President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate. 

Mlangeni, who will turn 95 on Saturday, is the last surviving Rivonia trialist and one of South Africa’s foremost struggle icons who played a significant role in the struggle for liberation against the brutaly oppressive apartheid regime.

Born in Soweto 94 years ago Mlangeni, alongside liberation movement luminaries such as the late Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada was convicted of high treason at the Rivonia Trial and would go on to spend 26 years in jail from 1963 until his 1989 release. 

In a statement, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation, said that Mlangeni who alongside Mandela and other ANC operatives languished on Robben Island for fighting apartheid, stands as a beacon of hope for the country. 

“At an age when he should be relaxing and enjoying the fruits of a life spent fighting for liberation, Mlangeni has once again heeded a call to arms. 

“This time the fight is against the economic fall-out of Covid-19 which has deepened poverty and hunger in the country. He also remains vocal against social ills including corruption, and violence against women and children,” said the foundation. 

The foundation added that with the future being uncertain and nobody knowing what tomorrow holds, the one guarantee was that Mlangeni would continue to fight for clean governance and remain a moral compass for the country.

“On Saturday, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation, will pay tribute to its patron and struggle stalwart via a webinar where an illustrious panel that includes President Cyril Ramaphosa, will participate,” the foundation said. 

Other panelists include former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, chairperson of the Mlangeni Foundation Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi himself a nonagenarian at the age of 91 and Hlengiwe Mkhize the Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

They will also be joined on the panel by Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa and the struggle veteran’s son Sello Mlangeni.  

“The speakers will give us a glimpse into the life of a freedom fighter who after nine and half decades, remains an activist in cementing the democratic values of transparency, accountability and the promotion of good governance.

“Ntate Mlangeni who over the years through his Foundation has dedicated himself to feeding and distributing blankets to the poor and vulnerable, will also be participating in the webinar,” the foundation said. 

Political Bureau

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