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Mr Thapelo Tambani (Posthumous)

The Order of Mendi for Bravery in

Mr Thapelo Tambani (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His selfless act of saving another life, which led to his unfortunate demise. His heroic act remains a legacy to all who knew him and got to know of him after his courageous sacrifice.
On 28 February 2018, Thapelo Tambani, a nine-year-old boy, drowned after a heroic and successful effort to save the life of his friend, Mulalo Sien Muelelwa.

Muelelwa fell into an open waterlogged trench at a building site and was slowly drowning when Tambani, putting his own life at risk, jumped into the muddy water. Sadly, after saving his friend, he drowned after he could not get himself out of the trench.

The boys had been playing on a heap of sand near a construction site in extension 10 in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria. Muelelwa suddenly slipped into a waterlogged
trench and he was obviously drowning when Tambani took his extremely brave action.

His 17-year-old brother, Joseph, said he was walking home when a screaming young boy informed him that Tambani was drowning in the muddy water. His frantic attempt to find him in the trench failed.

Members of the community embarked on a concerted search for Tambani but it was also in vain. Police divers later found his lifeless body, more than five hours after he had fallen into the excavation site.

Young as he was, Tambani’s act of bravery and selflessness serves as an example, not only to his friends, fellow scholars and the community of Soshanguve, but also to each of us in this beautiful country.