Andrew Mlangeni Wiki – Andrew Mlangeni Biography
Andrew Mokete Mlangeni, also known as Andrew Mokete Molakene, is a South African political activist and anti-apartheid campaigner who, along with Nelson Mandela and others, was imprisoned after the Rivonia Trial.
Sello Mlangeni, Struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni’s youngest son, recalls the first time he met his father in 1990 after being separated by prison and exile for almost three decades.
The Rivonia Trialist was visiting Sweden with his late wife June following his release from Robben Island in 1989 and Sello had not seen his father since 1962, when he first went to exile.
His parents decided to send their children to Botswana to live with their maternal grandmother after realising that they could both be arrested for their anti-apartheid activism.
Speaking to Independent Media on Saturday, the day his father turned 95, Sello said he was given the number of his parents’ hotel room in Stockholm but his father, who was in his mid-60s, could initially not recognise him.
After knocking on the door, Mlangeni opened and said to his exiled son: “Sorry, I thought it’s someone I knew.”
Sello said he stood at the door shocked because he was outside the room he had been referred to and yet Mlangeni had just told him he did not know him.
”June, June, Sello is here,” Mlangeni shouted after realising that the visitor he almost turned away was in fact his son, who he had not seen since 1962 even before he was sent to Robben Island.
Sello’s first foray into exile was in 1962 and a year later he went to Rhodesia.
However, he was deported in 1971 after the colonial authorities discovered he was not from Botswana.
Facts You Need to Know
June 6, 1925 (age 95 years), Soweto, South Africa
Lenin Peace Prize
Early Life. Career, Family, Wife
He was born in Soweto. After having to give up his studies owing to poverty, after 1946 he experienced worker exploitation as a factory worker. When working as a bus driver, he was active in a strike for better working conditions and a living wage, and in 1951 joined the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and, in 1954, the African National Congress (ANC).
In 1961, he was sent for military training outside the country, but on his return in 1963 was arrested, after being accused of recruiting and training an armed force. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.
He was married to June Mlangeni and they have five children, his wife died in 2001.
After his release from prison 27 years later, Mlangeni served as a member of parliament for the ANC from 1994 to 1999. He served once more in the National Assembly from 2009 until 2014, when he retired.
He was close friends with Nelson Mandela and spoke at Mandela’s memorial service at FNB Stadium.
In 2015, director Lebogang Rasethaba made a film about Mlangeni, entitled Prisoner 467/64: The Untold Legacy of Andrew Mlangeni.
In 2017, Mlangeni appeared with fellow defendants at the Rivonia Trial, Denis Goldberg and Ahmed Kathrada, along with lawyers Joel Joffe, George Bizos and Denis Kuny in a documentary film entitled “Life is Wonderful”, directed by Sir Nicholas Stadlen, which tells the story of the trial. (The title reflects Goldberg’s words to his mother at the end of the trial on hearing that he and his comrades had been spared the death sentence).
On 26 April 2018, Mlangeni received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the Durban University of Technology in South Africa. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law on 7 April, 2018 by Rhodes University.
Mlangeni was awarded the Freedom of the City of London on 20 July 2018. On that visit, he was also a guest of honour at the opening of the Mandela Centenary Exhibition at the South Bank Centre, alongside Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. On the Centenary Celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birth, he also read Mandela’s favourite poem – Invictus – which was aired on the BBC’s Newsnight programme.