AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
ANTI-APARTHEID struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni’s granddaughter has led South Africans in paying warm tributes to the political hero last who has passed on.
Granddaughter Thuli Mlangeni paid a warm tribute to her grandfather. “I am in so much pain and heartache… I have lost not only my grandfather but my father and best friend. Thank you for everything that you have done for me. I am who I am today because of you,” Thuli said.
Her personal tribute stood above the political farewells that have poured in since his death was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Mlangeni, the last of the Rivonia trialists who were sentenced to life imprisonment with Nelson Mandela, died at the 1 Military Hospital hours after he was admitted with a complaint of abdominal pain.
Ramaphosa, in his tribute, said: “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.”
South Africans flooded social media platform with their tributes. The following are some of the farewell messages to Mlangeni:
Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubu: “We don’t only mourn his passing but also take his life & the example of how to live a life in the service of the people without undue expectation. If 95 years of struggle, resilience and humility was a person, it would be Ntate Mlangeni.
“Ntate Mlangeni was the epitome of selfless leadership, from his wisdom, we managed to navigate through the most difficult times as a country. Robala ka Kgotso Seaparankwe.
“His passing comes 6 weeks after we had celebrated his 95th birthday. The passing away of #AndrewMlangeni comes 3 months after the death of another Rivonia treason Trialist Denis Goldberg. Leaders & revolutionaries arrested at Liliesleaf Farm have now regrouped in the hereafter. I personally had the honour to celebrate his 95th birthday with him just a month ago during a birthday drive-through organized by the City of Johannesburg. On that day, Ntate’Mlangeni was jolly and reminisced on the past.”
Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, former leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party: Dr Mlangeni served with distinction. Even when we were young men, writing our matric exams together, we were already political activists. As a student, Dr Mlangeni was taught by none other than Mr Oliver Tambo. On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I must speak again about his leadership, patriotism and integrity, for these are the attributes we will remember as we honour his memory.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters: “In his entire life, despite the impeccable sacrifices he paid, Baba Mlangeni never felt entitled to any state position of benefits. After the advent of democracy, he continued to pursue life in a humble and accessible way with integrity. He was known in social circles as an excellent golfer and remained active in his community, helping the needy, to his last days.”
Cosatu sent this tribute: The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the rest of South Africa and the world in mourning the sad passing of Comrade, Andrew Mlangeni. We send our heartfelt condolences to the ANC, his family, and friends”
Rhodes University: “ We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He was a selfless struggle veteran who dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of the people of South Africa.”
Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement: “I started my walk with Andrew Mlangeni 31 years ago, he was a humble man & great role model. We enjoyed a good game of golf & I always joked, asking him how he got to be so good if there was no golf course on Robben Island. We always had a good laugh about that.”
Gauteng Premier David Makhura: “A giant tree has fallen. A selfless struggle veteran who dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of the people of South Africa. I offer my sincerest condolences to the Mlangeni family, comrades and friends. May the legacy of Isithwalandwe live on.”
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula: “When Ntate Mlangeni turned 95 this year, we didn’t know we would have to bid farewell on the same year to our surviving Rivonia Trialist. We owe so much to his generation of leaders who gave up so much for the freedoms of all of us. Rest In Peace to a remarkable Freedom Fighter.”Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen: he DA has learnt with sadness of the passing of struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni. His lifelong commitment to a free and prosperous South Africa – will forever be remembered in our nation’s history with reverence and respect.”
VIDEO: City of Johannesburg