“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.