Like political father, like son

Masoja Cele

Masoja Cele

Lenin Nhlanhla was born into activism. Being the son of former intelligence minister Joe Nhlanhla, his political education started early in life.

The former Umkhonto we Sizwe cadre lost his battle against diabetes last Wednesday.

Nhlanhla grew up in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Like his father, he was passionate about politics.

When we were pupils at Sidlamafa High School in Nelspruit, he was already steeped in liberation politics.

He always talked about his wish to serve the ANC's military wing.

While his peers played sport at school, Nhlanhla had other issues to attend to.

A young man of few words, he would isolate himself from people. This behaviour was difficult to understand for those of us who were totally blank about politics.

While most of us were still trying to understand him and his passion for politics, we learnt that he had left early one morning in 1981 for Lusaka via Maputo.

Nhlanhla received his military training in Zambia, Angola and Yugoslavia.

He returned to South Africa in 1992 and joined the Department of Intelligence Services.

Madiba Radebe, his friend at the department, said: "I have known Lenin since 1982. We met in Lusaka and our relationship grew by leaps and bounds after we were amalgamated into the Intelligence service after the 1994 elections."

Nhlanhla is survived by his daughter and parents.

He will be buried tomorrow at the Waterval Cemetery in Randburg, Gauteng.

The service at the Alex Kopano Hall starts at 8am.