NEWS & ANALYSIS

ANCYL commemorates anniversary of execution of Solomon Mahlangu

Late MK cadre an inspiration to fight and never sacrifice principle even in the face of death

ANC YOUTH LEAGUE COMMEMORATES SOLOMON MAHLANGU

Today, the 6th of April 2010 marks exactly 31 years of the brutal execution of Solomon Mahlangu, a cadre of Umkhonto WeSizwe, a youth militant fighter ready to fight the apartheid regime and a disciplined member of the African National Congress. Upon his execution 31 years ago, the ANC said that "Comrade Solomon Mahlangu, a young hero of the South African revolutionary struggle, a survivor of the Soweto and other massacres perpetrated throughout the country by the fascist regime in 1976, a dedicated opponent of racism, apartheid and colonial domination, was hanged in Pretoria at 6 a.m. on Friday, April 6th, 1979. Solomon Mahlangu's only crime was his deep love for his people, his commitment and dedication to the noble ideal of freedom, human dignity and happiness of the people".

Solomon Mahlangu is to the ANC Youth League an inspiration to fight and never sacrifice principle even on the face of death. We will forever be inspired by the fighting spirit of Solomon Mahlangu and will in all our campaigns, programmes and activities, particularly those directed towards the retention of the wealth of the land to the ownership of the people as a whole. The Nationalisation of Mines in South Africa will happen due to amongst other things, the freedom Solomon Mahlangu fought for.

WHO IS SOLOMON MAHLANGU?

"Up until 1976, Solomon Mahlangu was a student, living under the Apartheid regime in South Africa. On June 16 the school-children of Soweto, protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in their schools, took to the streets in a massive, peaceful demonstration. Police reaction to the demonstration was brutal as they shot at the unarmed students. That day at least 25 people were killed. Twelve year old Hector Peterson was the first to fall.

The violence precipitated a spontaneous uprising led by the students that spread rapidly to all parts of the country. By the end of the year "an official (and doubtless underestimated) figure was given of 575 dead and 2, 389 wounded in the conflict." A wave of detentions and bannings were used by the state in an attempt to crush the revolt. 21, 000 people were prosecuted for offences related to the uprising. Thousands left the country in the face of this repression. They left to carry on the struggle from outside the country.

Nineteen year-old Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was among them. He left his home in the night, not telling even his mother where he was going or if he would ever return. Determined to fight for change, he sought training as a soldier. A year later, he returned home as a cadre of the of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the Spear of the Nation.

Solomon returned to South Africa in 1977, on a mission to join student protests commemorating the Soweto massacre. He never made it to the protests. He and his team, Monty Motloung and George "Lucky" Mahlangu were accosted by police in Johannesburg, and in the gunfight that followed, two white civilians were killed.

George Mahlangu escaped. Solomon and Monty Motloung were captured. Monty was so brutally beaten during the course of his capture that he suffered severe brain damage leaving him unfit to stand trial. Solomon had not fired a shot, but was left to face the murder charges alone. The trial was started without his lawyers' knowledge (SECHABA, 1979), and it was inevitable that he was found guilty of murder.

On March 2, 1977, Solomon was sentenced to death by hanging. When he heard his sentence, he shouted "Amandla!" - Power! Indeed, his cause wielded power. For two years the international democratic community campaigned against his execution and called for the recognition of all South African freedom fighters as prisoners of war. But, despite international pressure, the Apartheid government was not swayed. On April 6, 1979, 23 year old Solomon Mahlangu faced the gallows, raised his hand in the ANC salute, and met his death at the hands of a racist regime.

His final words are reputed to have been:

"My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. 
Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight."

Solomon's people did continue the fight. In honour of his courage and dedication to the cause of freedom, the ANC named a new school after him: The Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO)".

The ANC Youth League says in 2010 that we will fight with everything we have to ensure that the fruits of freedom are extended to the entire black majority and Africans in particular. Long Live the Fighting Spirit of Solomon Mahlangu Long Live.

Statement issued by the ANC Youth League, April 6 2010

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