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Andrew Mlangeni speaks about his close friend, former South African President Nelson Mandela, during an informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day at the United Nations headquarters in New York July 18, 2013. [Photo: REUTERS]
South African anti-apartheid campaigner Andrew Mlangeni, who was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela in 1964 after a treason trial, has died at the age of 95.

Mlangeni, who spent 26 years in jail and was the last of the eight defendants in the trial to die, had been admitted to hospital following an abdominal complaint, South Africa’s presidency said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who fought with Mlangeni for racial equality and an end to white minority rule, described him as a “beacon of ethical leadership and care for humanity” whose death marked the end of a generation of history and left the future in the hands of those who remained.

“With his passing... Mlangeni has indeed passed the baton to his compatriots to build the South Africa he fought to liberate and to reconstruct,” he said.

SEE ALSO: South African anti-corruption watchdog probes Covid-19 tenders

Mlangeni championed the values needed to do this, including dignity and opportunity for all, and his “dramatic life was a unique example of heroism and humility inhabiting the same person,” Ramaphosa said.

Mlangeni was born in 1925. In 1951, he joined the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC), which is now in power, and was later sent abroad for military training.

On his return in 1963, he was arrested and stood trial alongside seven others including Mandela in what became known as the Rivonia trial, named after the suburb of Johannesburg where some of them were arrested.

Mlangeni was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent with Mandela to Robben Island prison, the main jail used at the time for Black male anti-apartheid prisoners.

After his release, he served as a member of parliament and lived in the township of Soweto, outside Johannesburg, until his death.

SEE ALSO: South Africa's Covid-19 cases surpass half a million

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anti-apartheid Nelson Mandela Andrew Mlangeni South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa
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