Liberation struggle heroes awarded National Orders

2015-12-09 10:52

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Pietermaritzburg - Three KZN citizens were awarded National Orders by President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria last night.

Liberation struggle heroes Eric Mtshali, Getro Ndlovu and Kay Moonsany were awarded for their efforts in the fight for liberation.

National Orders are the highest awards that the country can bestow on its citizens and prominent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy.

Both Mtshali and Ndlovu were awarded the Order of Mendi, which is awarded to citizens who have performed acts of bravery.

Mtshali was one of the founding members of the ANC military wing uMkhonto Wesizwe.

Ndlovu also joined the military wing at its establishment in 1961.

Ndlovu, who is a former Robben Island prisoner, pursued the struggle relentlessly in Cato Ridge, Fredville and Camperdown.

Mtshali was a leading trade unionist, also a founding member of the ANC’s intelligence unit in exile and former MK chief of personnel in Tanzania.

Speaking in Pretoria after what he described as an “energy-consuming ceremony”, Mtshali said he was happy to be reunited with his old friends.

“I do not have words to describe joy. Some of the comrades I met today, I had not seen them for decades.

“To be awarded a National Order makes me happy because it shows that my efforts did not go unrecognised,” he said. Mtshali, who grew up in Clermont, was encouraged that the youth “appreciate what the older generation had done”.

Moonsamy was awarded with the Order of Luthuli, which recognises citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, nation-building, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace as well as for the resolution of conflict.

Moonsamy was a member of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC), SA Congress of Trade Unions and the ANC and SA Communist Party.

In 1956 he was part of the Treason Trial in which 156 people, including Nelson Mandela, were arrested in a raid and accused of treason after they had led the gathering of the Congress of the People in 1955.

Moonsamy was a defendant in the Treason Trial from December 1956 until charges were withdrawn against him a year later.

In the 1960s, he fled South Africa and later worked in Zambia with the Cosatu and ANC.

Zuma commended the three liberation struggle heroes for their efforts.

“The orders are a moment of great reflection, celebration and pride for our people. They celebrate human achievement, human sacrifice and human endeavours that make our country a better place,” he said.


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