Freedom Day serves to honour struggle veteran Monnanyane, 80, in Free State
A veteran of the liberation struggle, Lesley Monnanyane, of Rocklands, Bloemfontein, was honoured last week at a ceremony held at Phase 6 informal settlement in Bloemfontein.
Speaker after speaker showered Monnanyane with tributes for his sacrifices during the liberation struggle. He is the only surviving Free State Treason trialist of 1956.
He was provincial secretary of the ANC in the 1950s and one of the chief volunteers of the defiance campaign.
Monnanyane celebrated his 80th birthday on April 10 and this year's Freedom Day celebrations in the Free State doubled as a tribute to him.
Monnanyane dedicated his entire life to the ANC and spent time in prison with late ANC president Oliver Tambo.
Free State Premier Beatrice Marshoff hosted Monnanyane's birthday party at Free State House.
The party was attended by senior politicians and was viewed by many as a great tribute to Monnanyane.
In a statement issued jointly with the ANC, Marshoff said: "We will use Monnanyane's birthday celebration to initiate a project of tracing and preserving the history of the liberation struggle in the Free State and the outstanding individuals who played an important role in that regard."
In his reply to the premier, an ecstatic Monnanyane urged the Free State government to bestow the same honour that had been given him on other veterans of the struggle for liberation.