Andrew Mlangeni thanks South Africa for birthday messages

PRETORIA, June 15 (ANA) – Anti-apartheid struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni on Monday expressed gratitude to South African communities, president Cyril Ramaphosa and former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe for the messages he received on his 95th birthday.

“I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, and former presidents H.E Thabo Mbeki, H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe, ministers, national speaker, religious leaders and other dignitaries, for heartfelt warm messages of encouragement and support on the 6 June, the day of my birthday, I am truly humbled,” said Mlangeni, who was an ANC MP until 2014.

“My highest appreciation also goes out to many South Africans who wished me well and delivered gifts at my home in Dube, Soweto led by the Honourable Mayor of the City of Joburg, Comrade Geoff Makhubo. Your kindness has been overwhelming beyond my comprehension.”

Mlangeni – the only surviving Rivonia trialist – said it felt good to be appreciated, particularly when South Africa was battling the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Your thoughtfulness is a gift that I will always cherish. It brought fond memories of how we have come to achieve our hard-earned democracy, memories of our solidarity during the fight against apartheid.

“It is only through solidarity that we can win the war against this coronavirus, poverty, corruption, inequality and racism. United we stand, divided we fall. The world needs more people like you. Gratitude is the beginning of wisdom. As Jesse Jackson once said: “Never look down on anybody, unless you are helping them up.”

Mlangeni said he understood that many people wanted to be with him on his special day, but could not do so because of the pandemic.

“I know most of you would have wanted to be with me physically, but because of the new normal imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not possible. Thank you and God bless South Africa,” said the globally respected champion for peace, social justice, unity, and reconciliation.

In 1964, Mlangeni was arrested along with former president Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, and Denis Goldberg, among others.

They were tried for sabotage at the high court in Johannesburg.

Mlangeni was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, serving his prison term at Robben Island alongside Mandela, Sisulu and Kathrada. Mlangeni served two decades in prison and was released along with other freedom fighters from the prison in the early 1990s as South Africa transitioned to democracy.

– African News Agency; Editing by Desiree Erasmus

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