Government remembers Solomon Mahlangu

Deputy President David Mabuza is today leading government’s commemoration of the late struggle hero, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, who was hanged by the apartheid government on this day 39 years ago.

The Deputy President is today visiting the gallows at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility in Tshwane where 22-year-old Mahlangu, who was one of the youngest uMkhonto weSizwe soldiers executed under apartheid laws after being wrongfully accused of murder and terrorism.

Deputy President Mabuza, together with Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Mahlangu family are,expected to take the 52 steps to the gallows, as they observe the re-enactment of Solomon Mahlangu’s final moments before execution.

The year 2018 marks the 39th anniversary of the execution by hanging of Mahlangu, an ANC uMkhonto weSizwe combatant. He was hanged by the apartheid regime at the Pretoria Central Prison on 6 April 1979. Before he was executed, Mahlangu said: ‘My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the struggle’, said the Presidency.

The execution provoked international protest and condemnation of South Africa’s apartheid policy.

In fear of crowd reaction at the funeral, the police decided to bury Mahlangu in Atteridgeville (another township some 55km from the one Mahlangu hailed from). On 6 April 1993, he was reinterred at the Mamelodi Cemetery.

In 2005, a statue of Mahlangu was unveiled in Mamelodi, his place of birth.

In the same year, Mahlangu was posthumously awarded The Order of Mendi for Bravery in Gold for his bravery and sacrificing his life for freedom and democracy in South Africa.

In addition, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa will later in the day deliver a memorial lecture in honour of Solomon Mahlangu at the Vista Campus in Mamelodi.

The Deputy President’s visit to the prison follows a Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund Commemorative Dinner he addressed on Thursday night.

The Scholarship Fund which aims to avail financial support to deserving South African youth, especially from rural areas, was launched by former President Jacob Zuma in March 2014.

The fund was established by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

Source: South African Government News Agency