A newly renovated tombstone of revered former uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) combatant Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was unveiled by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, on Tuesday.
This year marks the 39th anniversary of the execution of Mahlangu by hanging, a trained combatant of the African National Congress’s (ANC) armed wing. He was hanged by the apartheid regime at the Pretoria Central Prison on April 6, 1979. Before he was executed, Mahlangu famously said: “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the struggle.”
The execution provoked international protest and condemnation of South Africa’s apartheid policy. In fear of the crowd reaction at the funeral, the police decided to bury Mahlangu in Atteridgeville. On April 6, 1993, he was reinterred at the Mamelodi Cemetery.
In 2005, a statue of Mahlangu was unveiled in Mamelodi township in Tshwane. In the same year, Mahlangu was posthumously awarded ‘The Order of Mendi for Bravery in Gold for his bravery and sacrificing his life for freedom and democracy in South Africa’.
NYDA chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni will deliver the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Memorial Lecture at the Mamelodi community hall on Tuesday afternoon.