Tag: andrew mlangeni

The last survivor of a defiant dance with death and Nelson Mandela is laid to rest.

Ironically Mlangeni spent a lifetime in prison for doing nothing wrong. The authorities transferred the sabotage of the late defence minister Joe Modise to Mlangeni's charge sheet and never even bothered to question him about it in court.

Andrew Mlangeni, a working class young lion of Africa

outh African youth must embrace transformative constitutionalism and at the heart of it, is a commitment to substantive reasoning, to examining the underlying principles that inform laws themselves and judicial reaction to those laws. Ethics, Practical wisdom and courage is required from all South Africans alive, to build a better future for generations to come.

End of an era: firebrand Andrew Mlangeni the last of Nelson Mandela’s band of brothers dies aged 95.

The last survivor of the courageous band of young men who faced unflinchingly the death penalty with Nelson Mandela has died aged 95. The quiet and steely revolutionary Andrew Mlangeni was the last of the survivor of the Rivonia trial, ending in 1964, that saw Mandela and his comrades sentenced to life imprisonment for their part in the underground movement that ran a sabotage campaign as part of the armed struggle against apartheid. Denis Goldberg, the other survivor, died in Cape Town in April. Mlangeni served 27 years in prison, his release came only in 1989, on charges that he had nothing to do with. In later years he used to smile that he had served a life sentence for principle and nothing else. Like all the Rivonia trilaists he pleaded guilty to all the charges, in the hope of putting the government in the dock; it turned out to be so with the international press writing them up not as criminals, but as the Benjamin Franklins of Africa. “All the things that were done by Modise (Joe Modise the late former defence minister) were put on me by the state witness. Everything; I didn’t do anything, I was out of the country. Even when they were concerning bombs etc. That was in 1961 and I was not here!” he told me in 2010 at his home in Dube, Soweto. Mlangeni was under military training in China in 1961 where, along with Modise, he was to become one of the founder members of Umkhonto We Sizwe the military wing of the African National Congress. He even knew little of the underground’s sketchy plan –Operation Mayibuye- for the armed overthrow of South Africa. This half-baked plan imagined small armed groups of men landing on the beaches of South Africa and taking on one of Africa’s toughest defence forces. This was one of the main planks of the prosecution case at the Rivonia trial. “We were fresh from China and eager to fight, so things such as documents we said let them go to the intellectuals,” said Mlangeni Mlangeni , who grew up in Soweto just outside Johannesburg, was born to question the system that condemned thinking men, like he, into a life of poorly paid servitude. He became an activist at an early age, politicized by the injustices he saw in his first job in a factory. Later,he was to organize bus drivers in Johannesburg in going on strike. On his emergence from prison, Mlangeni returned to the small house in Dube that he was arrested in during the winter of 1963. He became an ANC MP and in his mid 80s was very active and opened a constituency office in Dube to help serve the people.

Why 95-year-old struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni was “happy and proud” about a life sentence.

“We felt happy and proud that although the propaganda outside from the government that we were murderers, terrorists and rapists, people now knew we were none of these things and people knew what we were fighting for. That feeling that they know we are not thieves, that we are fighting for freedom, that is what kept us going."
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