Cape Town, Parliament, 7 June 2020 – The Presiding Officers, led by National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo, sent their heartfelt birthday wishes to Isithwalandwe/Seapakankoe Dr Andrew Mokete Mlangeni as he turned 95 yesterday.
Amidst the prevailing global pandemic, South Africans yesterday had a reason to be celebratory and proud as the nation marks the birth of this revered liberation hero, a founding member of a democratic Parliament and the only surviving Rivonia trialist.
Respected and recognised globally as a champion for peace, social justice, unity and reconciliation, Baba Mlangeni continues to inspire hope and change to the nation as the fountain of wisdom and voice of reason.
“We are grateful for all the sacrifices Baba Mlangeni has made while fighting to end Apartheid and his immense contribution to the work of our democratic Parliament. During his time at Parliament, he served as a dependable paragon of selflessness, integrity and ethical leadership.”
Bab’ Mlangeni joined Parliament after the first democratic national elections in 1994 and served in various committees of the National Assembly including Sport and Recreation (for 15 years), Transport (for 10 years) with a brief stint in the Home Affairs, Education and the Science and Technology committees until his retirement at the end of the Fourth democratic Parliament in 2014.
While chairing the Sport and Recreation Committee, we recall that he was instrumental in facilitating the repeal of the Boxing and Wrestling Act of 1954 which discriminated against females. At the time, he argued that “the time for discriminating against females by not allowing them to become boxers or wrestlers has passed.”
The history of the liberation of South Africa and Africa, cannot be complete without the remarkable, courageous and selfless contribution made by Dr Mlangeni and his generation of fearless freedom fighters, some of whom paid with their lives. We owe it to Bab’Mlangeni and other midwives of our freedom and democracy to ensure that, that which they fought for, a truly free, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous society is tangibly felt by all South Africans.
As he turned 95 yesterday, Parliament joined all across the world in wishing him a Happy Birthday and wished him unforgettably moments and never-ending joy with his family.