Port Elizabeth struggle stalwart Moyisile Tyutyu honoured

Mkhonto we Sizwe veteran Moyisile Tyutyu is awarded his order by President Cyril Ramaphosa
Mkhonto we Sizwe veteran Moyisile Tyutyu is awarded his order by President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: GCIS

“At 84 years old, I had already given up on receiving any awards and accolades for my years in the struggle because I was overlooked many times and some of my friends who fought with me have long died.”

Finally the long wait is over as Moyisile Tyutyu, a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative, was honoured on Thursday with the National Order of Luthuli in Silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tyutyu, from Kwazakhele, was one of many recipients to receive a national order at the ceremony held in Pretoria.

He was recognised for his shining contribution to the fight for the freedom of all South Africans.

As an operative of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he proved to be a man of courage, living by his conviction that all are equal.

The Order of Luthuli in Silver recognises South Africans who contributed to the struggle for democracy, nationbuilding, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace as well as for the resolution of conflict.

Speaking from Pretoria following the ceremony, Tyutyu said he was happy for the recognition.

“When giving me the medal, President Ramaphosa thanked me for being one of those people who worked underground in the fight against apartheid and the struggle to liberation,” Tyutyu said.

When he was only 18, he joined the ANC even though in 1953 the stipulated age to join was 20.

“It was different here in Port Elizabeth, though, and I felt compelled to join because I saw how our people were being treated and I could not sit on the sidelines,” he said.

Tyutyu spent 90 days bouncing between prisons in the Bay before being found guilty of being a member of a banned organisation – the ANC – in Somerset East.

“I was sentenced to nine years in prison but I appealed my sentence and spent only seven years,” he said.

A married father of three with grandchildren, Tyutyu now helps out the ANC where he can.

Other recipients of the Order of Luthuli include author Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe and Joe Veriava for his role in the medical profession.

Legendary actress Nomhle Nkonyeni, 77, was honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver alongside musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka and actress Mary Mhlongo Twala for her contribution to the performing arts and raising awareness on women’s health issues through her storytelling.

Ramaphosa said the awards celebrated individuals who had excelled and whose actions and works represented the triumph of the human spirit.

Speaking to the Order of Luthuli in Silver recipients, Ramaphosa said the fighters, activists and historians had played a formative role – not just in the struggle for freedom but also in the construction of a new society founded on the values of equality and non-discrimination.

“You recognised, as we do, that the attainment of liberation was just the first step towards realising a South Africa that is just and prosperous, and were prepared to continue to play your part to realise a society free of poverty, want and underdevelopment,” Ramaphosa said.