News Brief

The Home of Fees Must Fall Hero Solomon Mahlangu is Becoming a National Heritage Site

The late anti-Apartheid struggle veteran was the subject of the struggle song sung by Fees Must Fall activists.

The Fees Must Fall movement was birthed by South African students in 2015. What started off as students mobilizing themselves on social media grew into a formidable political movement fighting the financial exclusion of poor Black students at tertiary institutions across the country. Whilst Fees Must Fall was successful in holding off university fee increases and led to a number of reforms in tuition as a whole, the "fallists" continue to fight for free, decolonized tertiary education that was promised to them by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).


The name "Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu" was on the lips of thousands of activists during Fees Must Fall. The young man, who was a part of the armed wing of the ANC called Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was executed by the Apartheid regime at the age of 23. Before he was hanged, he said: "My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them." These are the precious words that kept the equally young Fees Must Fall activists fighting when the movement was at its height.

South Africa's National Heritage Council announced today that Mahlangu's home in Mamelodi, a township in the City of Tshwane, will be declared a national heritage site. All that's left, apparently, is for the Mamelodi residents to actively participate and ensure that the home does not become vandalized.

According to SowetanLIVE, Gideon Mahlangu, the Chairman of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Foundation, commented on the recent announcement saying, "In terms off sustaining the legacy of Solomon, we as a family appreciate work that has been done and we welcome the announcement that was made today."

The Department of Arts and Culture along with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) are currently working on plans for the 40th commemoration of Mahlangu's death which is approaching.


Listen to Fees Must Fall activists sing about the young struggle veteran below:

Fees Must fall : Solomon Struggle Song www.youtube.com

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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