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Today with Kieno Kammies
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History for the Future: The 'Backroom Boy' finally goes home

10 March 2020 8:00 AM

In this podcast series, Pippa Green interviews Andrew Mlangeni about his remarkable life of courage and reflection.

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.


10 March 2020 8:00 AM

More from History for the Future: Lessons from a Rivonia Trialist

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Last surviving Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni turns 95 on Saturday

5 June 2020 11:26 AM

Journalist Pippa Green interviewed the struggle icon this year, to commemorate 30 years since his release as a political prisoner.

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Andrew Mlangeni: From the apartheid struggle to the corruption struggle

17 March 2020 2:34 PM

Lessons from a Rivonia trialist: Andrew Mlangeni talks about the transition into democracy and the challenges we face today.

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History for the Future: Negotiating the release that would set South Africa free

3 March 2020 10:24 AM

One of the last surviving Rivonia Trialists, Andrew Mlangeni recounts the memories of his time in prison until his release.

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History for the Future: "The trial that changed South Africa”

25 February 2020 1:08 PM

In this episode, Andrew Mlangeni recounts how he travelled back to South Africa in the face of mounting tensions.

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Rivonia Trialist, Andrew Mlangeni: A cadre at the centre of a revolution

18 February 2020 1:10 PM

To mark 30 years since Mandela's release from prison, Pippa Green speaks to Rivonia Trialist, Andrew Mlangeni about his life.

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11 February 2020 11:05 AM
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