Zuma pays tribute to Mlangeni, shares fond memories of early MK days

The former president outlined the reasons why the ANC decided to take up arms against the apartheid regime and what Mlangeni stood for in the struggle.

Screengrab of former President Jacob Zuma delivering an address during the virtual memorial service for ANC stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, who died at the age of 95.

JOHANNESBURG – Former president Jacob Zuma says the late Andrew Mlangeni was one of the first five uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) combatants to be trained for the armed struggle.

Zuma paid tribute to Mlangeni during the African National Congress’s (ANC) virtual memorial service on Friday – where he remembered the icon as a leader, comrade and friend.

The former president outlined the reasons why the ANC decided to take up arms against the apartheid regime and what Mlangeni stood for in the struggle.

WATCH: Jacob Zuma shares memories of Andrew Mlangeni

He said the armed wing of the ANC was called ‘umkhkhonto wesizwe’ (the spear of the nation) because it was the only defence of the people against a brutal regime.

Zuma said Ntate Mlangeni was one of its first recruits.

“You needed comrade who would have been militarily prepared to help participate in establishing MK and commanding its operations in the country – and Mlangeni was one of them.”

In his memoir, Mlangeni revealed he would disguise himself as a priest - and go by the name reverend Mokwena Mofokeng.

“Whenever we met, I called him reverend Mokwena. As you heard, as the ANC started the armed struggle, it had to train cadres who would know how to operate underground.”
The ANC had to train cadres who would know how to operate underground.

But Zuma said before Mlangeni was arrested and sent to Robben Island the special branch arrested a real priest - a reverend Mokwena - who knew nothing about the ANC.

Apartheid police were duped thinking it was Mlangeni - because those who were beaten up kept insisting they met a Reverend Mokwena.

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