The Guardian

Unsung heroes: the men who stood trial with Mandela

The two surviving co-defendants discuss their part in the 1964 Rivonia trial in a film that relives their self-sacrifice
Nelson Mandela and his fellow prisoner on Robben Island Andrew Mlangeni listen to a young Cyril Ramaphosa soon after their release in 1990. Photograph: AFP/Getty

The world loves heroes, as we have been reminded by the divers who rescued the Thai boys stranded underground for 18 days, particularly brave and modest heroes. It also needs role models. And never more so than in this age of Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma – and nowhere more so than in South Africa.

The fall of Zuma, after years of allegations of corruption, cronyism and state capture, and the election of Cyril Ramaphosa, mark the most pivotal moment in the history of South Africa since the first free and democratic election on 27 April 1994.

Last month I was privileged to be invited to the 93rd birthday party of Andrew Mlangeni, one of Nelson Mandela’s two surviving co-defendants at the 1964 Rivonia trial, where they were sentenced to life in

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