[WATCH] Struggle icon Andrew Mlangeni celebrated on his 95th birthday
Struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni is the only Rivonia trialist still living following the death of Denis Goldberg in April.
After he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, Mlangeni spent nearly three decades on Robben Island alongside late president Nelson Mandela.
The dignitaries who joined him for his virtual 95th birthday celebration hosted on Saturday by the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation included President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, and government ministers.
Mlangeni himself thanked his comrades for joining the virtual event and quipped that he would be brief so that they could "eat and drink".
The guests hailed Mlangeni's sacrifices and recalled their memories of him during the struggle years, with Ramaphosa describing him as "a hero and father".
Using a priestly disguise, he was able to travel across provinces to organise meetings and address MK structures... When you lit up a cigarette much to everyone's shock you gave yourself away...President Cyril Ramaphosa
In the United States our black brothers and sisters have embarked on a massive fight to reclaim their dignity. The struggles waged by uBaba Mlangeni and the fighters of your generation were foremost in the service of the people of South Africa, but they were also in the cause of the liberation of all who suffer under tyranny and oppression... The dignity they seek is the dignity uBaba Mlangeni has fought for his whole life.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Former president Thabo Mbeki said Mlangeni had served as an inspiration over many decades, while former president Kgalema Motlanthe commented that his birthday amid the ravages of Covid-19 is an occasion for joy.
You stood out as an example of what we ourselves would try to be.Thabo Mbeki, Former SA president
Your birthday - which happens at this time when our country and the rest of the world is experiencing the ravages of coronavirus - your birthday fills us with joy because it is a birthday of one of our most revered, humble, respected, hard-working leaders that this country is blessed to have.Kgalema Motlanthe, Former SA president
Watch the moving tributes in the video below: