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Cape Town mayor announces Civic Honours for soccer coach Desiree Ellis, and others

Women’s national team coach Desiree Ellis. Picture: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Women’s national team coach Desiree Ellis. Picture: Molly Darlington/Reuters

Published Aug 25, 2023


Cape Town - Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced the names of exceptional South Africans who will receive Civic Honours for their significant contribution to society, both in Cape Town and globally, in the revived Civic Honours list.

Among those who will receive honours are women’s national team coach Desiree Ellis, and Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

The City had hoped the announcement of its revived Civic Honours list, after a 12-year hiatus, would be a grand occasion, but instead the mayoral address and the meeting were abandoned after a protest by EFF councillors about the recent taxi strike took centre stage.

Speaking in a City Council meeting that was transferred to a different venue after the disruption, Hill-Lewis said it was “a great joy” to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of men, women and organisations who had made Cape Town and the world a better place.

“Civic Honours have not been awarded in Cape Town for the past 12 years, but starting now we are reviving the tradition,” he said.

The City of Cape Town’s council sitting descended into chaos on Thursday morning, after rowdy members of the EFF, armed with posters, interrupted Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s opening speech. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Other than Ellis and Sooliman, the other recipients and their citations include lawyer, activist and former Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs; legendary playwright Athol Fugard; and Social, education and climate justice activist and Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba.

The Afrikaans poet, painter and former political prisoner Breyten Breytenbach; acclaimed singer/songwriter, guitarist and global music star Jonathan Butler; and political satirist, playwright and HIV/Aids educator Pieter-Dirk Uys also had honours bestowed on them

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
Justice Albie Sachs. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Posthumous awards were bestowed on the Queen of African pop, and Ma Brrr to her many fans, Brenda Fassie; the greatest South African test cricketer to have never played for South Africa, Basil D’Oliveira; and social justice advocate and philanthropist Bennie Rabinowitz, who died earlier this year.

Posthumous awards were also bestowed on teenage interpreter and peace broker between the Khoi and the Dutch in the 17th Century, Krotoa, and World War ll fighter pilot hero and anti-apartheid activist, AG “Sailor” Malan.

The City will also issue several Mayor’s Medals for people or associations that have served a community with high dedication and sacrifice.

The recipients of the Mayor’s Medal include the Friends of Mostert’s Mill; founders of The Clothing Bank, Tracey Chambers and Tracey Gilmore; Ladles of Love’s Danny Diliberto; and the late actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards.

Others are Langa’s Busy Bees Rugby Club; the late Hank Lith of Claremont Arderne Gardens; Zoë Prinsloo of Save a Fishie; the Volunteer Wildfire Services; and state capture corruption buster Athol Williams.

An official ceremony will be held in Cape Town in December to honour the individuals and associations announced in the revived Civic Honours list.

Brenda Fassie. Picture: Supplied

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