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Tributes pour in for struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation has joined in to express their sadness over the passing of struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni, saying “Another great tree has fallen in the forest.”

Foundation Chief Executive Sello Hatang remembers him with fondness. “He called me Morwa, because I shared a first name with his son. He always made time for me, and always brought a smile to my face with his dry, self-deprecating sense of humour.”

The struggle veteran passed away overnight at the age of 95. He was admitted to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria on Tuesday night following an abdominal complaint.

Mlangeni was the last surviving Rivonia Trialist, who spent more than 20 years on Robben Island after his conviction at the Treason Trial in 1964.

Thabo Mbeki Foundation

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation described Mlangeni as an “elder statesman” whose “bearing and intelligence was reminiscent of that of Oliver Tambo in his gentility, decency, and intelligence and yet no push-over when it comes to argument on the core values of the struggle.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the Foundation reflects on his later years. “He tried his best to serve as the conscience of the ANC. The ANC may not have reckoned with what he would become as Chairperson of the Integrity Commission.”

The statement further reads, “His findings shook the foundations of and rattled the complacency of those who thought that they had the license to abuse the power and popularity of the ANC for their own ends. His pronouncements and their recommendations were often ignored and at times ridiculed by leaders of the ANC.”

‘He was in a jovial mood’

The son of late struggle veteran Mlangeni says his father was in a jovial mood when he left his home to be taken to hospital last night.

Sello Mlangeni described his father as a strong person, who even at the age of 95, had a very good memory.

“When he left the house here, you know, as jokingly as he used to say, he said, ‘oh no, I’m too tired of this now. I’m ready to go.’ You know, so I just said to him, ‘no, you are not going anywhere. You are going to be 100 years. We are still waiting for 100 years.’ But unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Because he was a very strong man. He was very strong and with a very good memory for his age, you know. Like the other day, he was saying to me, ‘I wish I was young … I was about 30 years of age with the experience that I have.’”

His nephew, Lucas Ledwaba, says the family is devastated but will continue to celebrate Mlangeni’s extraordinary life and the loving family man that he was.

“We’ve had the fortune of spending so many years with him. For us, it’s been a journey of having not just a grandfather, not just an uncle … we had our jokes. I mean I’m in IT and even at 95, he was telling me what to do on a computer. He’s an awesome man he’s a great leader. He was full of jokes, full of laughter, full of love.”

Source: SABC News

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