Struggle stalwart and the last surviving Rivonia Trialist Andrew Mlangeni has died at the age of 95. He was admitted to 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane, Pretoria, on Tuesday, following an abdominal complaint, where he died during the night of 21-22 July. The President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said: “Until recently, we were able to sit at Bab’ Mlangeni’s feet and draw on his wealth of wisdom and his unfailing commitment–even at his very advanced age–to a better life for all South Africans … The passing of Andrew Mekete Mlangeni signifies the end of a generational history and places our future squarely in our hands.” The Rivonia Trialists were Lionel Bernstein, Denis Goldberg, Arthur Goldreich, Bob Hepple, James Kantor, Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Walter Sisulu and Harold Wolpe. They were charged with sabotage against the state. Their real crime was fighting against an apartheid system which in essence promoted white supremacy and reduced so called “black” people into servitude and stated they were lesser human beings. Oh, if only the clock could be turned back and the course of history follow a different path … but it can’t, and today we still sit with the aftermath of a cruel and brutal system of governance. For almost everyone not classed as so called ‘black’, we will never understand the degradation, humiliation and trauma the various ethnic groups of our country suffered due to apartheid. We were not in their shoes. We escaped their hardships. We can not feel their pain. They were robbed of so much! Consider the education, the careers, the freedom, the justness of living and being a fellow human being … not forgetting the land issue. The existing anger and pain still exists and will continue for the foreseeable future. And we who are not classed as so called ‘black’ need to do our part, assisting the previously disenfranchised people to not only rise up to reach their full potential in education, the market place and society … but we need to make them feel welcome and accepted as completely equal to all other human beings. How does this shape out?
Once you surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ … at that instant, you experience the Baptism of the Spirit. You are now born again … you are new … you are right with God and spiritual.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Now, you have the potential to be and become everything God wants you to become as you are shaped by His Word.
Love your Neighbour
For far too long, the Second Greatest Commandment has been interpreted to suit oneself and one’s personal phobia with reference to ethnic groupings.
Matt 22:37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Irrespective of how you try to manipulate Jesus’ words as He uses Scripture from Leviticus, you have to agree that ‘neighbour’ means everyone other than yourself. It is not referring to your immediate family or your immediate neighbor … it means everyone other than yourself.
Evangelise all people
So now that you are Born Again and seek to honour the Lord Jesus through loving and accepting all people the way He does, you want to fulfil His command to go and make disciples.
Matt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
To make disciples means to shape people to be like you in their approach to God, their knowledge of God and their passion to get the gospel message out to all peoples, everywhere. This means you cannot be choosy nor narrow focused. Your obligation is to reach “all nations” without exception. That is loving your neighbor.
Serve the Body of Christ to Serve the World
And then, as you are making disciples, your attitude is to serve the Body of Christ with your unique mix of spiritual gifts so that the Body might be built up, seeing more people going out into the world to reach the world for Christ.
Many movements and organizations have been started and will be started in the future to deal with what this note addresses, but the greatest change maker of them all is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! There is no human mind or human organization that can change the heart of man like the gospel. Once spiritual life appears in the heart of man, an understanding and acceptance is reached that all of the race descends from the same parents and are fully human … and more … in Christ, are fully accepted by the Father as part of the one, eternal Body of the redeemed!
Dear God, as Andrew Mlangeni thanked You for allowing him to live such a long life, help us to live longer so that we might serve You more and more, spreading the glorious gospel to anyone and everyone we come into contact with. As we remember great men, help us never to lose focus on our main purpose, the Gospel. Amen.