Struggle hero remembered

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pretoria - Struggle hero Solomon Mahlangu, who was executed on 6 April 1979, after he was found guilty of two counts of murder and three charges under the Terrorism Act, was today remembered in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria. 

Mahlangu was sentenced to death by hanging on 2 March 1978.

Speaking at a wreath laying event to commemorate Mahlangu's death, Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla said it was important to remember the country's fallen struggle heroes.

"There is a lot that we can learn from our heroes. As a new South Africa, we are a country of freedom fighters, least we forget what they have done selflessly for this country," he said.

Makwetla said government was still searching for other struggle heroes, whose whereabouts were not known, so they could pay homage to them by recognising their contributions in the struggle for democracy.

"We want to compensate and give them the necessary support they deserve," he said.

At the cemetry where Mahlangu was buried, the mood was sombre with many remembering him as a person who loved peace. Members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (meaning 'the spear of the nation') were also present, chanting and singing freedom songs.

Mahlangu was born in Pretoria on 10 July in 1956. He was the second son of Martha Mahlangu.

He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in September 1976, and left the country to be trained as a MK. He trained in Angola and Mozambique and on 11 June 1977, he returned to South Africa as a cadre.

He was arrested in 1977 and was tried from 7 November 1977 to 1 March 1978 for charges associated with the attacks in Goch Street in June 1977.

On 15 June 1978, Mahlangu was refused leave to appeal his sentence by the Rand Supreme Court, and on 24 July 1978, he was refused again in the Bloemfontein Appeal Court.

Although various governments, the United Nations, international organisations, groups and prominent individuals attempted to intercede on his behalf, Mahlangu awaited his execution in Pretoria Central Prison. - BuaNews

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