The ANC commemorated the life of struggle icon Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu with a wreath laying ceremony in Tshwane and a visit to the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre where Mahlangu was hanged 42 years ago.
Mahlangu was a South African freedom fighter, Struggle activist and operative of the ANC militant wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was charged with two counts of murder and several charges under the Terrorism Act, and hanged in 1979. Attending the wreath laying ceremony, ANC members, Mahlangu family, activists, South African Communist Party (SACP) members and more chanted freedom songs in celebration of Mahlangu.
The commemoration included a visit to the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre where Mahlangu was hanged 42 years ago by the apartheid regime. The ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte urged all those advocating for a death penalty to be brought back to visit the gallows at Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria, where Mahlangu and other freedom fighters were hanged.
“Any person who advocates for the death penalty should spend time here to bring home the reality of the brutality. A lot of people who were hanged were hanged on the principle of collective guilt, a subject in law that is very obscure. Many of them were innocent,” said Duarte. Treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said the ANC was there to remember a gallant fighter.
Mashatile repeated Mahlangu’s famous quote to his mother: “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight, my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Aluta continua. Mashatile said: “This is our opportunity to say we too comrade Solomon Mahlangu, we love you. We are here to honour your life and many commanders and cadres of MKVA. Our freedom came at a very great cost. He urged young people to visit the gallows monument.
“All those who advocate for the death penalty must walk through these gallows and they will understand why the ANC said ’no’ to the death penalty because it is cruel. On behalf of ANC, let us continue to say no to the death penalty,” said Mashatile.
He thanked the Mahlangu family for being there with them and promised the ANC would always be with them.
The SACP’s Dr Alex Mashilo used the occasion to speak about the issues of self-enrichment and corruption plaguing the ANC and weighing-in on the “step aside” resolution, saying it should be implemented.
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