Struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni dies

Struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni has died, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday morning.

Ramaphosa said that Mlangeni, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, passed on overnight following a brief hospitalisation at 1 Military Hospital in Tshwane after he was admitted there following complaints about abdominal pains. Mlangeni was the last remaining Rivonia Trialist following the death of his comrades that he went in trial with between 1963 and 1964.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has learnt with deep sadness of the passing away overnight of the last remaining Rivonia Trialist and Isithwalandwe Seaparankwe Andrew Mekete Mlangeni.,” Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

“President Ramaphosa offers his sincere condolences to the Mlangeni Family as well as the friends, comrades and associates of the Struggle hero countrywide and internationally.

Mlangeni was part of a long list of high commanders of uMkhonto weSizwe who were tried following their arrest at their hideout in Liliesleaf farm in Sandton during apartheid. Among those who were tried with Mlangeni was Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Denis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel Bernstein, Raymond Mhlaba, James Kantor and Elias Motsoaledi .They had been using the farm as their meeting venue where they were crafting a plan to overthrow the apartheid government.

“The passing of Andrew Mekete Mlangeni signifies the end of a generational history and places our future squarely in our hands,” Ramaphosa said.

“Until recently, we were able to sit at Bab’ Mlangeni’s feet and draw on his wealth of wisdom and his unfailing commitment – even at his very advanced age – to a better life for all South Africans.”

Ramaphosa said Mlangeni had remained a beacon of ethical leadership in the country and around the globe.

“With his passing as the last remaining Rivonia Trialist, Bab’ Mlangeni has indeed passed the baton to his compatriots to build the South Africa he fought to liberate and to reconstruct during our democratic dispensation,” Ramaphosa said.

“He was a champion and exemplar of the values we need to build a South Africa that provides dignity and opportunity for all and which takes its rightful place in the global community of nations.

“My thoughts are with the Mlangeni Family today and with all who have had the blessing of meeting and being touched by Bab’ Mlangeni’s passion for achieving a better society as well as his passion for a life that is well-rounded, adventurous, healthy and embracing of people from all walks of life.”

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