"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.’’ Solomon Mahlangu
Deputy President David Mabuza visited the gallows at the Kgoši Mampuru II Correctional Facility in Pretoria where Solomon Mahlangu, the youngest uMkhonto weSizwe soldiers was executed under apartheid laws after being wrongfully accused of murder and terrorism.
This was part of government’s commemoration of the late struggle hero who was hanged at the age of 22 on this day 39 years ago.
Deputy President Mabuza, who was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Mahlangu, family took the 52 steps to the gallows, as they observed the re-enactment of Solomon Mahlangu's final moments before execution.
“Today’s commemoration is testimony to our consciousness that government has a moral responsibility to provide physical and material security to the citizenry and an affirmation that it shall never again appropriate to itself the right to determine who will live and who shall die.”
This year marks the 39th anniversary of the execution by hanging of Mahlangu, an ANC uMkhonto weSizwe combatant.
He was hanged by the apartheid regime at the Pretoria Central Prison on 6 April 1979.
Before he was executed, Mahlangu 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.
Speaking on behalf of the Mahlangu family, Lucas Mahlangu said Solomon’s blood should unite the country.
“By uniting, we will be helping our government to provide for us,” he said.
In 2005, a statue of Mahlangu was unveiled in Mamelodi, his place of birth.
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.
The Deputy President’s visit to the correctional facility follows a Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund Commemorative Dinner he addressed recently.
The Scholarship Fund which aims to avail financial support to deserving South African youth, especially from rural areas, was launched by former President Jacob Zuma in March 2014.
The fund was established by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).