Tributes are pouring in for late struggle stalwart and Freeman of the City, Andrew Mekete Mlangeni who died at 1 Military Hospital on Wednesday, 22 July aged 95.
Cllr Geoffrey Makhubo, the Executive Mayor has described Mlangeni as the epitome of selfless leadership whose wisdom helped South Africa navigate its most difficult times.
Mlangeni was bestowed with the Freedom of Johannesburg, the City’s highest civilian honour in 2016 and was also a recipient of the Presidential Order for Meritorious Service: Class 1: Gold from President Nelson Mandela in 1999.
Cllr Makhubo has praised the late icon for his principled stance against inequality and injustice during apartheid, noting that his contribution to the struggle for freedom is immeasurable.
“It was a harder struggle of selflessness, dedication and commitment to ensure that we enjoy the liberties we have today. Mkhulu Mlangeni belonged to a special generation that was fearless in pursuit of freedom for the oppressed,” he says.
Cllr Makhubo adds that Mlangeni’s passing marks the end of a golden chapter of the struggle for freedom.
“He was part of the generation that not only coined the slogan ‘Freedom in Our Lifetime’ and spent their lives fighting to ensure that the dream of freedom in their lifetime was attained. He lived to see this dream attained and recognised that there was still more work to be done,” says the Mayor.
Mlangeni’s passing comes shortly after the death of another Rivonia Treason Trialist Denis Goldberg, marking the end of an era of leaders and revolutionaries arrested at Liliesleaf Farm for their antiapartheid activities in the 1960s.
Makhubo says Mlangeni’s life is worthy of emulation.
“We do not only mourn his passing but also take his life and the example of how to live a life in the service of the people without undue expectation. He taught us to live without the air of entitlement. If 95 years of struggle, resilience and humility was a person, it would be Mkhulu Mlangeni,” the Mayor says.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has remembered Mlangeni as a champion and exemplar of the values of a South Africa that provides dignity and opportunity for all.
“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,” says Ramaphosa.