Cape Town honours Zackie Achmat and others

City bestows civic honours on 37 exceptional individuals and organisations

City acknowledges outstanding individuals and organisations in civic honours ceremony

The City of Cape Town bestowed civic honours on 37 exceptional individuals and organisations during a special City Council meeting today, 28 April 2011.

These individuals and organisations were honoured for their outstanding service or contribution to the city and its residents.

At the ceremony, City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato, explained that the awarding of civic honours is important for a city's progress and growth.

"We bestow civic honours on certain individuals and organisations to acknowledge their varied contributions to our collective development and to encourage them to continue their outstanding efforts. Our support is important because these contributions will achieve real, lasting development in this place we call home. As we build our new democracy, we must do all we can to promote the values of civic-mindedness," said Alderman Plato.

Civic Honours was conferred in three categories this year, namely Signing of the Civic Honours Book (one of the highest accolades that the City can confer on its residents), Honorary Title of Alderman and the Mayor's Medal.

The following citizens were selected for Signing the Civic Honours Book: David Kramer, Adam Small, Leonora van der Heever, Patrick Tebbutt, Franklin Sonn, George Ellis, Koos Bekker, Alvon Collison, Zackie Achmat and the late Phyllis Spira.

The following councillors were granted the title of Alderman: James Vos, Gawa Samuels, Bulabo Maboe, Demetri Qually, Freddie Kearns and Kenneth Lategan.

The Mayor's Medal was awarded to six organisations and 15 outstanding civilians for their individual contributions to community development, cultural affairs, sport and conservation.

The organisations are: The Cape of Good Hope SPCA, the Rotary Club of Claremont, the Western Cape Emergency Medical and Rescue Services, the National Sea Rescue Institute, Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the Lions Club International.

The individuals are: Dave Dewar, Solomon Benatar, Professor Jacquez Charl de Villiers, the late Donald Tshomela, the late Hotep Idris Galeta, the late Tony Schilder, the late Ezra Ngcukana, the late Winston Monwabisi "Mankunku" Ngozi, Marlene le Roux, Barry Smith, the late Ambrose Peters, Peter Hart, Hugh "Buzz" Macey, Brent van Rensburg, and Ismail Teladia.



David Kramer: Kramer is honoured for enriching the musical culture of South Africa. This multi-award-winning playwright, songwriter, performer and theatre director is an icon of South African music and has become an inspiration to young South African artists through his career that spans more than 30 years. He has won numerous national awards, produced over 20 albums and nine musicals, and is the only South African writer to have a production staged in the West End and on Broadway. His "Ballade van Koos Sas" is also the only Afrikaans musical to have been staged in London in Afrikaans.

Adam Small: Adam Small is treasured for his mostly Afrikaans works that highlight the lives and oppression of the working class under the apartheid regime. He used writing as a weapon in the struggle to free his people and criticised apartheid policies and racial discrimination through poetry. His Afrikaans drama "Kanna Hy Kô Hystoe" (1965) was praised by critics for the way it experimented with music, decor and time. Civic Honours are granted to Small for his everlasting contribution to Afrikaans literature.

The late Phyllis Bernice Spira: One of only a few dancers worldwide to ever be granted the status of prima ballerina assoluta, Spira (1943 - 2008) will always be remembered for her talent, hard work and ability to express numerous leading roles in an extraordinary manner. Her legacy lives on not only through fans' memories of her superb dancing, but also through Dance for All, a non-profit Section 21 company she established with her husband to train dancers in Cape Town's townships. Civic Honours are conferred to Spira for her extraordinary dedication to her work and her art, her artistic achievements, and her contribution to the development of dance in South Africa.

Leonora van der Heever: Van der Heever holds the esteemed position of being the first female judge to be appointed permanently to the appellate division of the South African Supreme Court in 1991. After serving in Bloemfontein, Welkom and the Northern Cape, Van der Heever began to serve on the bench of the Cape Provincial Division in 1979 and the men-only City and Civil Service Club changed its constitution to accommodate her. She is honoured for her landmark achievements in the judiciary.

Patrick Henry Tebbutt: Tebbutt is honoured for his skill, hard work and dedication to the cause of justice. After serving in the Navy in World War II and working as a court reporter at a newspaper, Tebbutt went on to practise at the Cape Bar and later served as a judge. Six years later he moved to business and became the managing director of Syfrets Trust and Executor South Africa Ltd, but also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He later returned to practice at the Cape Bar and was appointed a permanent judge to the Cape High Court in 1981. Tebbutt was also involved in many charitable and community activities, co-founded the Protea Medical Aid Society and was the chairman of the board of trustees for the Two Oceans Environmental Education Trust.

Franklin Abraham Sonn: Sonn has made a life-long contribution to the advancement of education. Before being appointed as the rector of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Sonn was the principal of Silverstream High School in Manenberg and Spes Bona High School in Athlone for nearly three decades. He was the new South Africa's first ambassador to the USA, served on the boards of many South African banks and companies. He is currently a trustee for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Desmond Tutu Peace Trust and the Impumelelo Innovations Awards Trust. The City is honouring Sonn for his unfailing commitment to education and public life.

George Francis Rayner Ellis: Ellis is honoured for his bold and innovative contributions to science and his service to the broad spectrum of social, economic, and ethnic groups in South Africa and elsewhere. Ellis is considered to be one of the world's foremost theorists in cosmology and has co-written the key-reference work "The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time" with Stephen Hawking in the 1970's. Ellis completed his PhD at Cambridge University, where he stayed on as research associate and lecturer until 1974. Upon his return to South Africa he served as emeritus professor of complex systems until he retired in 2005. Ellis's work encompassed the general relativity theory, various aspects of cosmology, the human brain and behaviour, science policy and education and the relation of science to religion.

Koos Bekker: Bekker is honoured for his contribution to the financial and business advances of the media in South Africa and Africa. He, together with a few young colleagues, paved the way for South Africa's first pay-television channel, M-Net. Bekker was later appointed as chief executive of Naspers, a shareholding company of M-Net that is listed on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges. Naspers took control of the African pay-television companies and also owns leading internet and e-commerce companies world-wide. Bekker has been honoured widely for his role in the transformation of Naspers from a print media company to a global communications giant.

Alvon Collison: Cape Town-born Collison is a well-loved theatre and television personality with performance credits that span five decades. His big break came through is casting as Pharaoh in the 3000-performance run of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" in 1974, for which he received numerous prestigious accolades. Nurturing talent is one of Collison's best attributes - he produced "Joseph" for his former school with great success, and later did the same for the Astra School for the Physically Disabled. He is involved in many charitable organisations and fundraisers and has produced shows for communities all over the Western Cape. The City honours him for his contribution to the musical legacy of the Mother City.

Zakkie Achmat: Achmat is best known for founding the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which focuses on making medicine accessible for those who cannot afford private health care. He targeted government policies and pharmaceutical companies through the TAC to ensure that HIV/Aids did not equate to a death sentence. The organisation progressed to improve all aspects of health care provision. Achmat was also a gay-rights activist - he founded the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and helped ensure the protection for these communities South African Constitution. The City honours Achmat for his undying devotion to community health care goals.


James Vos
Gawa Samuels
Bulabo Maboee
Demitri Qually
Freddie Kearns
Kenneth Lategan


Community affairs

Cape of Good Hope SPCA: The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is the oldest, largest and one of the most effective animal welfare organisations in South Africa. Its 16 inspectors and four animal collection officers respond to an average of 50 cases of animal cruelty and neglect daily across about 11 000 km². The organisation conducts awareness programmes and assists local communities directly through mobile clinics. Full-time staff and volunteers at the animal care centre look after thousands of stray or abandoned dogs and cats annually, re-homing them or reuniting them with their owners.

Rotary Club of Claremont: The Rotary Club of Claremont was established in 1974 as an association of ordinary men and women working to enrich the physical, material and cultural well-being of communities around the Western Cape. The club's two largest fundraising events are the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and the Discovery Cape Times Big Walk. It is seen as a fellowship for good, embodying high ethics in business and personal affairs and expressing those virtues in community life, charitable works and upliftment of society.

Western Cape Emergency Medical and Rescue Services (EMS): The Western Cape EMS has served Cape Town for over 30 years by incorporating management and administration, ambulance services, patient transport, medical rescue services, aero-medical services, communication services and emergency medicine. The Metro Rescue Squad was established in 1979 and is now staffed by 48 highly trained full-time personnel who rescue people from life-threatening entrapments in vehicles, industrial and agricultural machinery, and buildings.

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI): The NSRI is a free, internationally recognised public service offered by 920 volunteers at 30 bases around the coast and on three inland dams. Every time the volunteers are called to a rescue situation, they show extraordinary bravery in attempting to save lives. The NSRI runs an education programme, Waterwise Warriors, which teaches water safety to thousands of learners daily.

Lions Club International: The Lions Club is the world's largest, most active voluntary humanitarian service organisation. In Cape Town, the Lions have consistently served the needy through various programmes, including the Food Project which has fed over 60 000 people daily over the last 30 years and the Eye Health Project, which works to eradicate curable blindness through cataract surgery. Other successful projects include the Community Chest Carnival, Diabetic Retinopathy, Recycled Spectacles, and Peninsula School Feeding.

Social affairs and services

Dave Dewar: Dewar is the current emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT), director of the UCT Bioethics Centre, professor in public health sciences for the University of Toronto, and an international member of the Standing Committee on Ethics for the Canadian Institute of Health Research. After 39 years of full-time service, Dewar retired as a professor of regional planning at UCT in 2010. He has authored or co-authored nine books and over 200 monographs and articles on city and regional planning. He has consulted widely in Southern Africa and has been core consultant to the City of Cape Town in drawing up a spatial development framework for the metropole.

Solomon R. Benatar: Benatar is emeritus professor of medicine and founding director of the UCT Bioethics Centre; director of the Fogarty International Centre programme for capacity building in international research ethics in Southern Africa; professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto; and the international member on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Standing Committee on Ethics. He was elected as Foreign Associate Member of the US national Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and has obtained various local and international fellowships.

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust: The trust is one of the oldest and most experienced organisations working against sexual violence against women in South Africa. It aims to improve access to care, treatment and justice for male and female rape survivors. In so doing, the trust has achieved reformation of laws and policies that affect survivors through changes to sexual offences legislation as well as the set up of specialised sexual offences courts, victim support centres at police stations and dedicated medical facilities that provide an effective and efficient service for rape survivors.

Cultural affairs

JC (Kay) de Villiers: After retiring from medicine in 1993, Professor de Villiers devotes his time to writing medical history and teaching clinical neurosurgery. He spent 27 years as lecturer and surgeon at the Department of Neurosurgery at Groote Schuur Hospital. In 1976, he was appointed to the Mauerberger chair of neurosurgery at UCT.

The late Donald Tshomela: A talented jazz and blues singer, Tshomela was described as the ‘shining star' of the 1950s and 1960s swing era until the apartheid system stifled his local performances. In the 1990s he made a comeback, having developed an extensive repertoire of material ranging from mainstream jazz to South African classics. He was lauded wherever he performed, whether it be District Six community halls or international tours with African jazz pioneers.

The late Hotep Idris Galeta: A renowned South African jazz pianist and educator, Galeta established himself in the fifties as Cecil Barnard - entertaining with icons like Abdullah Ibraham, who became his mentor. He has lectured jazz studies at the University of Hartford's Hartt School, taught at the University of Fort Hare, held the musical directorship of a national music education programme for high schools, and coordinated music outreach programmes in Cape Town. He holds a Master's degree with distinctions in jazz education and performance.

The late Tony Schilder: This iconic jazz musician was a pianist, composer and bandleader from one of the Cape's most prolific musical families. He began his career on the Cape Flats, but ended up playing in five-star hotels and recording albums. He is best known as leader of and pianist for the Tony Schilder Trio. Schilder recorded a straight-ahead jazz album in 2005, after being invited into the studio to perform on his son Hilton's solo release.

The late Ezra Ngcukana: Ngcukana was a highly respected saxophonist, born in Port Elizabeth to one of South Africa's greatest musical families. He graduated with two degrees from the University of South Africa. He never considered working as a professional musician, wanting instead to study and still play music. He mentored the Little Giants band with George Werner and others, whose graduates now operate in professional music and other disciplines both locally and internationally.

The late Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi: A saxophonist, Ngozi is considered one of Cape Town's jazz greats. During the apartheid era, his performances with all-white bands were behind drawn stage curtains or under the pseudonym, Winston Mann. He became a household name in 1968, with the release of "Yakhal' Inkomo" by the Mankunku Quartet. He received international acclaim after touring with Mike Perry and Jack van Poll. During a career spanning four decades, he won the South African Music Award for Best Traditional Jazz with "Molo Africa".

Marlene Le Roux: Le Roux has risen above her own physical disability to live out her passion for the arts and development as director of audience development at the Artscape theatre and "Suidoosterfees" board member. She is the only South African and the only non-English international expert to be invited to serve on the International Panel of Judges for the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. Among eight awards presented to her are the Desmond Tutu Legendary Award and one of France's most distinguished titles as Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Barry Smith: Dr. Smith is an esteemed musician, writer, composer, teacher, musicologist, author, choral and orchestral conductor, music critic, heritage conservationist and community worker who plays organ and harpsichord. He was organist and choir master at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town for 42 years and an associate professor in the Faculty of Music at UCT for 33 years. In 1989 Archbishop Desmond Tutu made Dr. Smith a member of the Order of Simon of Cyrene - the highest honour that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa can bestow on a laymen.

The late Ambrose Saul Peters: Peters was a photographic journalist who wasn't afraid to risk his life to get the picture - the most famous of which was the black-and-white 1980s shot published around the world which showed a priest surrounded by coffins on a road where police were firing tear gas and rubber bullets. He spent 41 years in the media industry, with his pictures documenting everything from the high life in Cape Town to the momentous events surrounding the transition to democracy.

Peter Hart: A historian, Hart has produced outstanding work in research the history of the names of streets for several suburbs in Cape Town. The information has been recorded in six volumes and made available to the Central Library and relevant local libraries. The last four of the six books are due to be catalogued at the Ndabeni headquarters. The research was conducted at Hart's own expense and serves as a tremendous gift to the city.

Youth affairs

Hugh "Buzz" Macey: Macey is a veteran member of the South African Scout Association - a community-oriented youth movement vested in training the leaders of tomorrow by encouraging spiritual, mental, social and physical development. He served the Scout movement for over 50 years and held positions at national and international level. He has led the 1st Durbanville Scout Group for several years and is a member of the Adult Training Team. In 2003, Macey was awarded the Order of the Silver Springbok for exceptional service to the Association.

Brent van Rensburg: As co-founder and artistic director of the Zip Zap Circus School, van Rensburg works to develop Cape Town's youth. He started the school, which is open to children from diverse backgrounds, with little funding and a borrowed tent. Since then it has grown and performance highlights include Nelson Mandela's birthday, the Grahamstown Arts Festival and numerous international and local tours.

Recreation and sport

Ismail Teladia: Teladia has been involved with teaching and sports administration for about three decades and is currently a life orientation teacher in Mitchells Plain. He was appointed team liaison officer for New Zealand for both the 2010 FIFA World CupTM and the 2009 Confederations Cup. He launched the Legends Cup rugby tournament in 2010 to revive rugby at 80 disadvantaged schools across Cape Town. Teladia is also the commissioner for volleyball on the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa and is reading for a doctorate in education.

Statement issued by Fritz Marx, Manager: Protocol and Mayoral Events, City of Cape Town, April 28 2011

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