06 June Ledwaba and children

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Andrew Mlangeni married June Ledwaba, a young woman he first saw where she worked as a shop assistant in Orlando East. They stayed in the Shelters until they moved to Dube with their children. June was his love and pillar of strength, keeping the home and family together during his absence for political activities and imprisonment. At the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in 2000, he said that, even if they lived another 100 years, they would still passionately love each other. Regrettably, she passed away in 2001, suffering from cancer.

June also spent some time in the Women’s Prison at the Old Fort with the likes of Winnie Mandela and Albertina Sizulu, after a passbook march (protest march) in 1956. Her life was surely not easy, since we know how the police harassed the wives and families of political prisoners, while she also had to keep the home and children intact.

The couple had two daughters, Maureen and Sylvia, and two sons, Aubrey and Sello. Their sons were involved in the youth revolution of 1976; eventually went into exile to join MK and were therefore absent when Andrew was released from prison in the late 1980s. June, the daughters and grandchildren, and the Dube community, however, were there to welcome him back. A special memory he treasures, is his first cup of coffee served by his own daughter, Sylvia.

See the Elsabé Brink Special collection B33 on the 1956 Women’s Anti-pass march.

Rivonia Trial
June Mlangeni
Pictures of June Mlangeni is not readily available.
This photo by Lionel Shapiro currently belongs to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Old Fort
Old Fort Prison, Johannesburg
Photograph from The World that made Mandela: A Heritage Trail by Luli Callinicos. 2000, Johannesburg. p.194