ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni in London to receive Freedom of the City

ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni with his granddaughter Mpumi and nurse Mashoto posing at the Nelson Mandela bust next to the Royal Festival Hall in London. (Supplied)
ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni with his granddaughter Mpumi and nurse Mashoto posing at the Nelson Mandela bust next to the Royal Festival Hall in London. (Supplied)

ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni is to receive the prestigious Freedom of the City of London in person on Friday.

In January 2016, the 93-year-old was unable to join the late Ahmed Kathrada and Denis Goldberg alongside their Rivonia Trial legal representatives, George Bizos and Joel Joffe to receive the award.

According to then Lord Mayor Jeffrey Mountevans, the honour was a "tribute to the noble and fearless fortitude" of the men in recognition of their fight for freedom and racial equality.

READ: ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni warns ANC on land

The ceremony is expected to be held at Guildhall, the civic and ceremonial centre of the city, around 12:00.

The historic venue has hosted many important ceremonies, including Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday celebrations.

The late statesman Nelson Mandela received the Freedom of the City at the same venue on July 10, 1996.

Busy week

After a private lunch at the Guildhall Club on Friday, Mlangeni is expected to visit the Houses of Parliament.

It is understood that he will be given a tour before having tea on the terrace with the Queen's Chaplain, Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who recently led prayers at the recent royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Mlangeni is being hosted by the South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Nomatemba Tambo.

He has had a busy week since landing in the bustling city on Monday.

Accompanied by his granddaughter Mpumi and nurse Mashoto, he put his sightseeing cap on and posed at the Nelson Mandela bust next to the Royal Festival Hall.

The bust was unveiled by the late ANC president Oliver Tambo in 1985.

He also attended the opening of the Mandela Centenary Exhibit at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday, rubbing shoulders with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

On Thursday, during celebrations for what would have been Mandela's 100th birthday, he was part of the official launch of the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Centre UK.

Robert Kennedy Human Rights Centre UK executive director Dennis Marcus, the nephew of ANC Struggle veteran and former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus, expressed his excitement on Friday at Mlangeni being well enough to receive the honour in person and to share his story with city residents.

The June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation said it was delighted that Mlangeni was receiving the Freedom of the City.

"For over 27 years Dr Mlangeni has been separated from his family and imprisoned as a result of his role in the struggle for freedom. The foundation is truly grateful," said spokesperson and founding trustee of the foundation, Sello Rasethaba.

The foundation appealed to the City of London to support the South African government's drive to attract investments.

"... Dr Mlangeni is one of the heroes who have led the struggle to bring democracy to South Africa at great personal cost and the much-needed investments into South Africa will go a long way in alleviating poverty and bringing dignity to our people," said Rasethaba.

In April 2016, Mlangeni and Bizos received the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg.

He, Kathrada and Goldberg received the Freedom of the Sedibeng District Municipality in 2017.

Mlangeni is expected to fly home on Monday.

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