Tribute to Baba Andrew Mlangeni by MEC Panyaza Lesufi on behalf of Premier David Makhura
Programme Director, Minister Thoko Didiza
The Mlangeni Family and Relatives
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Government Ministers
Executive Mayor of Joburg Clr Geoff Makhubu
The Leadership of the Church and the June and Andrew Foundation
Leadership of the ANC led Alliance and other political formations
Veterans of our struggle
A heart whose dreams gave hope to the weak and vulnerable has for ever lost its beat. Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.
We gather here today, on behalf of our Premier and the people of Gauteng to pay our last respects to our beloved Father; a stalwart of our struggle against apartheid, a human rights activist, an organiser; a militant and fearless leader; an unending source of inspiration and a role model to many.
Here lies before us the body of a man, whose thoughts have opened the doors to our liberty. The gentle voice whose measured words of reason shook the thrones of tyrants and dictators. His voice has been silenced.
And as the cold truth of this reality dawns on us with each passing day, our loss becomes more difficult to bear.
Baba Mlangeni lived a remarkable life – a life dedicated to the selfless service of humanity and to the struggle of the working people of our country. His was a just and noble struggle, fought courageously and at an enormous personal cost.
Baba Mlangeni was an outstanding leader of our country’s struggle for liberation and democracy. He was despised by the apartheid regime but adored by millions of freedom and democracy loving South Africans. His contribution to a new South Africa is unmatched. Hence, the ANC bestowed him with its highest honour, Isitwalandwe/ Seaparankoe for his unbroken service, for his dedication, commitment and unflinching loyalty to the cause - a just, free, peaceful and prosperous future!
And our ranks have been robbed of the company of a unique revolutionary, an honest and sober comrade whose tongue was as sharp as his agile mind. A straight talker, a reliable defender of the unity of the ANC. A true Freedom Fighter.
There are handful or few individuals who live an indelible mark in the history of humanity, and Baba Andrew Mlangeni was such a towering figure. His name occupies a special place amongst South Africans for his unbroken service to the struggle against the Apartheid system and birth of a new South Africa we all enjoy today.
In Baba Mlangeni
We had a soldier of the People’s Army
A leader of a glorious movement
A golfer of note
We stand here as the Gauteng Government to declare that what we used to cherish has left us. What we used to celebrate is no more. Our hearts may beat but the sound has changed. Our minds may function but our thoughts are troubled. A leader amongst us has left this world. His heart has ceased to beat thus leaving our hearts in pain. The pain is deep and unmeasurable.
Some will be scared to declare that Cde Baba Mlangeni was a communist
We know why will they be scared to declare that Baba Mlangeni was a true communist
It’s because they don’t make communist like this anymore
He worked with Mao Tse Tung, Joe Slovo and many other Communists
A true Freedom Fighter, indeed
But we will be disingenuous not to state the fact
That the Freedom you fought may lose its character if we can’t act
That struggle you waged may turn to be something if we don’t self correct
That the sacrifices you made, if nothing drastic is done, maybe fruitless
Never in the history of our struggle that our people doubt us
Never in the history of our struggle that our people, in the numbers are unhappy with the behavior and conduct of some of our Freedom Fighters
Never in the history of our movement that our people are angered by our inward and self centered approach to issues
The mistrust between the leadership and our people is growing daily
Never in our history that greediness and corruption preoccupies the minds of our people
In your honour, we need to let go of all these wrongs
You saw it Tata
Instead of fighting for the development of our people
We spent time fighting for positions
You saw it Tata
Instead of fighting for the development of our country
We are surrounded by greedy vultures
You saw it Tata
Instead of fighting for peace and prosperity
Our women and children are killed and attacked
This occasion must be a signpost for the renewal of our commitment to keep alive the memory of Cde Baba Mlangeni. It must serve as a reminder to our youth that our struggle for freedom was led by people with real depth of character, personality and great sense of humanity.
To young people, I present to you a role model to emulate
A leader to emulate
A true role model
While in the underground and mobilizing our people Baba finished his matric
While in prison he finished his Bachelor of Arts degree
While under the same harsh conditions in prison, he finished his BA Honours, cum laude
This leader fought apartheid and studied at the same time
Unlike those who want to sleep, wake up and sleep again this leader went ahead to enroll for a law degree
He Never rushed to be a leader
He Never fought for a position
He was Never accused of corruption nor betraying our struggle
He never faced any disciplinary hearing for misconduct
He Never left his community
He Just loved to talk about politics, sex and golf
It’s never too late to emulate this leader who was always on time for meetings and events
As we lay him to rest we must restore our faith in our people to build a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
A South Africa we want our Children to inherit
A South Africa that will make us proud
A South Africa that cares but above all
A free South Africa that is not at war with its women and children
When a person choose to be humble
When a person choose to sacrifice and suffer
That person deserve to be praised
That person deserves our testimonies
Go well and strongly reassure other martyrs that we will resist with whatever we have that the movement they built in exile, prison, underground and under conditions of life and death be gradually turned on its head to be something rather than a liberation movement that serves our people with honour
But you must also inform our martyrs that some of those that you asked us to forgive are taking our forgiveness for granted and they are still refusing with our land
Fare thee well our dearest Leader
Fare thee well the doer, mandate protector
Fare thee well Accused No.10
Fare thee well the pathfinder
Our Leader, Our Aspirations
We can now release you Baba Mlangeni
It’s hard but we are ready to release you
We are releasing you because you played your part
You conquered and collectively with other leaders you liberated us
But I also say that Baba Mlangeni has not died, because the ideals for which he sacrificed his life can never die, the ideals of freedom, human dignity, non racialism and economic emancipation cannot perish.
I say he has not died because there are many of us who became part of his soul and therefore willingly entered into a conspiracy with him, for the victory of his cause.
Be assured of our commitment to serve and defend our freedom
Please tell them, Mandela, Tambo, Sobukwe, Biko, Gwala, Albertina, Winnie Mandela, Helen Joseph, Barney Molokoane, Solomon Mahlangu that we are indeed free but not yet fully free.
But please be assured that
Never will we betray you by surrending this freedom to our enemies
To the family and relatives of Cde Mlangeni, Homotśegang, Phephi
Re shetilwe Ke go disha
Sepela gabotse Motlokwa
Ga di lebogwe