Andrew Mlangeni, one of two surviving Rivonia trialists, has been described as a quiet man of integrity and a giant of the revolution. Mlangeni celebrated his 93rd birthday in Sandton on Wednesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly spoke at the event, and according to TimesLive, said it was a blessing for the ANC and the country to still have Mlangeni.
"Mlangeni is a giant himself‚ a giant of our revolution who has also walked with other giants and that's the beauty of it all," Ramaphosa reportedly said. He reportedly called Mlangeni "Mr Integrity", and said that when former President Nelson Mandela spoke from the dock during the Rivonia trial in 1964, saying he was willing to die for freedom, he was speaking about himself and former trialists.
"He was also talking on behalf of his colleagues‚ because the speech had been discussed. People like Andrew Mlangeni stood there‚ in prison‚ determined‚ stoically and with great courage‚ and they were prepared to die for the cause that finally brought our freedom‚" Ramaphosa reportedly said.
Ramaphosa said the country could never thank Mlangeni enough for his contribution to the struggle against apartheid.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country can "never thank you enough" for the cause pursued by people like #AndrewMlangeni, who were "prepared to die" for the liberation of our nation from the shackles of apartheid. pic.twitter.com/yCrgerLAjs— Xoli Mngambi (@XoliMngambi) June 6, 2018
Mlangeni reportedly had the crowd in stitches during his address, joking that he was 39, not 93, and laughing about his sex life, according to eNCA.
The event was attended by several high-profile guests, including Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor, former president Kgalema Motlanthe and SANDF chief Solly Shoke.
The struggle stalwart did not want gifts for his birthday but asked for donations to charity.
#AndrewMlangeni The programme director says they are hoping to distribute 1000 blankets for the poor this winter. QH— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) June 6, 2018