Minister Nathi Mthethwa: 40th anniversary of execution of Solomon Mahlangu

Programme Director:

Mahlangu family.

Premier of the Province;

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present

Members of the Executive Council present

Distinguished guests

MK veterans present.

Leadership of the alliance present.

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Fellow South Africans we have gathered here this morning not to mourn the fact that a criminal regime hanged him for his effort for a just and humane society but to celebrate a life that was dedicated to freedom and construction of a national democratic society.

April 6th marks a double tragedy in the sense that it marks the arrival on our shores of that convicted criminal Jan Van Riebeeck, his landing had a devastating effect that led directly to Solomon Mahlangu being hanged.

At times events such as this evokes unpleasant memories of the turbulent apartheid years, but it can help those who were born after the dawn of democracy to understand the heavy price their forebears paid for democracy.

This 40th anniversary of his murder coincide with four other important landmarks in the evolution of our society.

Firstly, this year we mark the 140th anniversary of that epic battle at Isandlwana, where Amabutho defeated the mighty English army.

Secondly, had he lived, that young lion would have turned sixty years old this year.

Thirdly, this year marks 50th anniversary of that landmark conference in Morrogoro, popularly known as the Morrogoro Conference.

Fourth, this year also marks the 25th anniversary of our young democracy.

Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu is no more but lives on. He is in the buildings and streets named after him. In songs of celebration and the ululation of our people. In the National Democratic Society we are building every day. In a better life we are creating. In every one of us. In the belief and our conviction that a better South Africa in a better Africa and the world is within reach.

Through his profound exemplary conduct he continues to inspire new generations of cadres. As we note this sacred date when he was executed, We recall that one of the bravest sons of our people � Solomon Mahlangu – was hanged. His last words as he was to be hanged “my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom…” remain an epitome of the best traditions of our movement. He wrote his own epitaph.

So committed to the freedom of his people and undeterred by the grave prospect of death on the gallows, he remained steadfast like those forces that King Cetshwayo took to battle in the war at Isandlwana. His bravery still resonate in South Africa today.

He will always be remembered by both his former comrades, and a new generation of South Africans, as a unique example of a bold revolutionary leader, who embodied the great traditions of our liberation movement � selflessness, dedication, discipline, hard work, loyalty to the cause and commitment to the service of the people.

Let us all be like Solomon Mahlangu and let us set examples the people that our people throughout the country will be proud off.

While we have made great strides in the transformation, reconstruction and development of our country since the democratic break-through in 1994, we are equally mindful of the many challenges that face us in our vision to fully redress socio-economic imbalances created by decades of apartheid. These include unemployment, poverty and inequality in our society, which compel us, and the South African society, to act together around common programmes.

The tasks of the youth today.

Forty years later young people must help to keep the legacy Solomon Mahlangu and his generation alive by taking advantage of opportunities to build our country and change their lives.

Young people should join the ranks of active and responsible citizens by participating positively in democratic structures and processes like the coming elections.

They should cherish and jealously protect schools, libraries and other centres of learning.

All communities must ensure that young people finish secondary school and gain the necessary skills to grow our country.

The youth of 76 fought for equal and quality education for all; let’s educate our young people to honour their legacy.

We should also learn more about the immense sacrifices our struggle icons made to be where we are today.

The youth need to work together with government to create the country that Kalushi envisaged.

The youth have to play an active role in their communities in improving people’s lives and making sure the economy works for everyone.

The youth of today must be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

It would be well that those who consider themselves leaders of our young people should seek to emulate Mahlangus example. Thus they should strive to unite the people and not divide them, work to satisfy the aspirations of the people and not betray them, fight for the interests of the masses and when necessary negotiate as genuine representatives of the people and not as beggars at the masters table as others behave these days.

We owe this giant cadre a lot and this is a lesson the young generation must emulate going forward. In honour of Mahlangu we call upon young people to be at the forefront in building better communities.

We salute this bravest son of our people Solomon Mahlangu for his sacrifice and bravery and indeed many others who laid down their lives for the attainment of freedom, democracy, justice, equality and human rights in our country.

South Africa is a different country now, a thriving constitutional democracy that respects the right to live, the right to human dignity, and the right of all to have a better life.

We are inspired by this revolutionary hero who sacrificed his life for humanity. Mahlangu never fought for fame or to be rewarded. Mahlangu made an indelible contribution when it was not fashionable to be a comrade.

Economic freedom in our lifetime must be the motto redefining the present generation to propel our revolution forward to economic freedom.

We owe a permanent debt to the life and memory of Mahlangu, and the many martyrs who died for freedom.

But we know that, when all is said and done, the best tribute we can pay to Solomon Mahlangu and those who perished in defense of our struggle, is to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease, and to create prosperous societies whose ethos of justice and equity were the passion of his life and the intent to build a society of honour.

Thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

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