Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, was awarded for her lifetime contribution to the freedom struggle in South Africa.
Ms. Gandhi was one of the three Indian-origin South Africans who was lauded among many veterans of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation)— the armed struggle wing of the African National Congress.
The others were Sunny Singh and Mac Maharaj.
Former Umkhonto we Sizwe members were incorporated into the South African defence force after the advent of democracy in 1994, following the release of Nelson Mandela, who went on to become the first democratically-elected president.
The awards titled Amadelakufa, meaning ‘sacrifice’ in Zulu, were hosted by the military.
Ms. Gandhi made it clear that she had never been a member of the armed wing, but was nonetheless honoured by the award.
She runs a range of community projects. One among them is at the Phoenix settlement where Mahatma Gandhi ran his successful anti-discrimination activities during his tenure in Durban at the turn of the last century.
Mr. Singh said he had not expected to win any awards when he joined the liberation movement 42 years ago, citing the victory over apartheid as his biggest reward ever. He said he was delighted at with the recognition.
Mr. Maharaj, who could not attend the function, is currently spokesman for President Jacob Zuma. He has served time with Mandela on Robben Island. — PTI