History for the Future: The 'Backroom Boy' finally goes home
To commemorate 30 years since Andrew Mlangeni's release as a political prisoner, Life Podcasts presents History for the Future: Lessons from a Rivonia Trialist. In episode five of this captivating six-part podcast series, Andrew Mlangeni recounts his memories of his time in prison until his release in October 1989.
In 1985, the apartheid government approached Nelson Mandela and his comrades with an offer of release. The government had feared that the country erupt in violence at time of the African National Congress leader's release but, Andrew Mlangeni and the other political prisoners were reluctant.
In fear of being labelled as traitors, the prisoners refused. It was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who managed to convince them otherwise.
Taking a conciliatory approach, Nelson Mandela was quietly transported from the Constantiaberg Private Clinic in Cape Town, where he underwent treatment for tubercolosis to the Victor Verster Prison where he occupied a warder's large house with a swimming pool, garden and, a personal cook.
He lived in the prison for 14 months.
"So much time has been wasted, more than a quarter of a century were wasted when this decision could have been taken long ago... problems of South Africa would have been resolved a long time ago," says Mlangeni.
Listen to his remarkable story in six podcast episodes as part of the History for the Future series.
For more articles like this one, visit the History for the Future: Lessons from a Rivonia Trialist feature page.
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