South African struggle icon dies

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

SOUTH African political stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, the last surviving Rivonia trialist,  has died.

Mlangeni, 95, passed on at the 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane, Pretoria, where he had been admitted for treatment following an abdominal pain complaint.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences to the Mlangeni family.

Mlangeni and other Rivonia trialists, which included Nelson Mandela, were sentenced to life imprisonment and jailed on Robben Island after they were convicted on treason.

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

The Presidency said Ramaphosa participated in Mlangeni’s birthday’s celebration last month in the company of, among other notable guests, President Thabo Mbeki, President Kgalema Motlanthe and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Ramaphosa said: “Bab’ Mlangeni was awarded Isithwalandwe Seaparankwe – the highest honour by the African National Congress for those who have made an outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle in 1992 – and received the Presidential Order for Meritorious Service: Class 1: Gold from President Nelson Mandela in 1999.

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

“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.

“Bab’ Mlangeni’s dramatic life was a unique example of heroism and humility inhabiting the same person and throughout his long life he remained a beacon of ethical leadership and care for humanity in our own 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.

“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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