Solomon Mahlangu was executed on this day in 1979 even though the court knew he was not responsible for the killings on Goch Street on 13 June 1977. His death took place on what was called Van Riebeeck Day, which marked the official arrival of the VOC on 6 April 1652.
Mahlangu joined MK after the riots that broke out in response and solidarity with the learners of Soweto. The ANC used June 16 as a rallying call to the military training camps and young people responded in their numbers. Mahlangu was among them. He left in September that year.
He would return the following year on 11 June 1977 coming into South African soil through Eswatini, having received training in Angola and in Mozambique. He was with 2 others, Monty Motloung and George Mahlangu. They were intercepted on 13 June while on their way to Soweto.
Motloung fired shots killing two civilians, George managed to escape arrest. And the rest is history. Motloung was so badly beaten that he could not stand trial so common purpose was applied which meant Mahlangu was made responsible for what happened on 13 June.
Mahlangu appealed the death sentence handed down to him on 2 March 1978 by CDJ Theron: first to the Rand Supreme Court which was presided over by Ramon Leon (for those who wanted clarity on Mr Leon Senior). He refused; then to the Appellate division in Bloem which also refused.
Priscilla Jana was Mahlangu's lawyer to whom he said his last words: "Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight. My blood will nourish the tree that bears the fruits of freedom.”
Solomon would be celebrating his 65th birthday on 10 July.
Dates in this country are very important. They are used to wage wars. 6 April 1652 was an important day to the apartheid regime. In 1952, Cape African Teachers Association was at the forefront of boycotts against the 300 year celebrations in 1952.
Phyllis Ntantala Jordan who was among those at the forefront and wrote "Isikrweqe nekhakha" which was a translated text of Tabby Tabata's Boycott As a Weapon of Struggle which was circulated throughout the Cape province and used to mobilize people against the celebrations.
"Tabby" (real name Bangani Tabata) was a writer and trotskyist involved in the Non-European Unity Movement. When we trace the roots of the Defiance Campaign we should reflect on the role movements like NEUM played in setting things in motion. The 1952 celebrations flopped.
We also know the PAC was founded on this day in 1959 as a way of reclaiming this day, reclaiming the dignity lost for more than 3 centuries.

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More from @valavoosh

7 Apr
Educator, organizer, writer, chorister Charlotte Maxeke was born Charlotte Mokgomo Mannya in Botlokwa Ga-Ramokgoba, Polokwane on this day 150 years ago. Maxeke was the first Black South African woman to obtain a degree. She is an alumnus of Wilberforce University in Ohio. ImageImageImageImage
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1 Apr
Prof Wangari Maathai would've turned 81 today.
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28 Mar
The first group of enslaved people, about 174, arrived at the Cape on this day in 1658 aboard the Amersfoort. Most of them were children. But they actually were not meant to be here, they'd been captured from a Portuguese slaver ship headed to Brazil from Angola.
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The VOC in the Cape didnt have slaver ships, the Amersfoort was a merchant ship coming from the Netherlands and heading to the Cape when its crew decided to kidnap the 250 people kidnapped from the Angolan coast. Van Riebeeck had been appealing for a couple of slaver ships for a
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25 Mar
Journalist, writer & activist Ida B Wells passed away on this day in 1931. She was born into slavery on 16 July 1862 a year into the American civil war. As an investigative journalist she was the first to expose lynchings in the south. ImageImage
Her work on lynchings was inspired by her friends murder, businessman Thomas Moss & his business partners Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell who were killed on 9 March 1892 all because they had a thriving grocery store business that outrivalled their white counterpart.
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21 Mar
It's the photographer, Ernest Cole's birthday today. He would've turned 81. This photo of Ma Ngoyi was included in his book House Of Bondage.
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21 Mar
Remembering Sharpeville 61 years later. While Nyakane Tsolo led the Sharpeville protest, Sobukwe is pictured here in Soweto leading the people there toward the local police station where they would hand themselves over for arrest.
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We'll be back to remember uTata uPhillip Kgosana on the 30th but he was also due to lead the Cape Town branch on this day. While the members that side were on their peaceful way to the police station, 10 police vans intercepted them.
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