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Sam Ntuli (Posthumous)

The Order of Mendi for Bravery in

Sam Ntuli (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to peace-building during a particularly violent and delicate time in the history of the liberation struggle. He paid the ultimate price for his dedication to peace and freedom.
Profile of Mr Sam Ntuli

Mr Sam Ntuli was a prominent local community leader who was deeply involved in brokering peace between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and other parties in the Thokoza area during the politically turbulent 80s.

It took a truly brave person to under take this dangerous task. Ntuli was prominently involved in the activities of CAST, which represented a range of civic organisations in the then Southern Transvaal, including the greater Johannesburg area.

The civic organisations campaigned on predominantly local issues such as the lack of adequate housing and services in the black townships. Many of the civic associations’ leaders, including Ntuli, were detained without charge or trial under the terms of the state of emergency regulations during the 1980s.

Despite major incidents of political violence in Thokoza in 1990 and early 1991, the township had been relatively peaceful. However, on 8 September 1991, 23 IFP supporters were killed when gunmen opened fire on some 300 people making their way to an IFP rally.The massacre led to further killings in Thokoza and precipitated a wave of reprisal attacks in Soweto and other townships around Johannesburg, as well as random attacks on commuters in trains and taxis.

The professional nature of the gunmen’s attack on 8 September and the wave of violence it unleashed, just prior to the signing of the multilateral, national Peace Accord on 14 September, suggested that the attack was carried out by forces determined to undermine efforts at political reconciliation in South Africa.

Human rights monitors suggested that the murder of Ntuli on 29 September was the first of a wave of planned assassinations of community leaders in Thokoza.