07 For the people
A rally was held at Soccer City on 29 October 1989 to welcome back released, political prisoners e.g. Walter Sizulu, Govan Mbeki and Andrew Mlangeni. When Andrew saw the cheering crowd of more than seventy thousand people, he realised that there was no stop to the ‘freedom train’. Moreover, history proved that true.
This celebration was followed by a trip into African countries for the newly released. In Tanzania, Andrew was given an uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) uniform by MK Chief-of-staff, Chris Hani, honouring him as ‘the first foot soldier of MK’ – and so, he got another important name. They also visited Norway, where he and June were reunited with their son, Sello. Seeing the sick Tambo on their journey, however, was heart breaking.
When the first democratic election happened on 27 April 1994, Andrew and June proudly walked to the Selalani Junior School in Dube, to cast their votes. At the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President, Andrew “knew this was what they fought for” and was happy to be a member of the new parliament, serving on the Sports and Recreation Committee.
Andrew Mlangeni was in Melrose, Johannesburg, for the 2017 launch of his biography. This ‘backroom boy’ did not look his age, spoke well and signed the purchased copy with a message written in a steady handwriting and emphasizing his testimony: I did what I did, not for myself, but for the people of South Africa.
Read I am prepared to die by Nelson Mandela. Published in London: International Defence Aid & Fund for Southern Africa, 1979.
Available for in-library use at UJ Library’s Archives & Special Collections, Doornfontein Campus Library.