On Friday 7 December, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Council will present its Prestige Awards to five outstanding South Africans who made significant contributions in the fields of public health, education and the pursuit of justice and equality.
The Prestige Award is made to anyone who has rendered distinguished services that have made a significant impact on the wider local community in any field which supports the social and/or educational mission of the university.
Human rights activist Dr Wendy Orr will receive the award for her courageous approach in advancing the achievement of human rights and for her unwavering commitment to the transformation of society in pursuit of equality and social justice.
Dr Orr has led and continues to lead an extraordinary life which has influenced change in the apartheid struggle and the fight for human rights. She was just 23 when she qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Cape Town in 1983. While working in the medical examiner’s office in Port Elizabeth in 1985, she treated political detainees who had been assaulted and became the first and only doctor in government employment to reveal police torture and abuse of these detainees, when she applied to the Supreme Court for a restraining order against the police.
In the early 1990s she became involved in activism around HIV/Aids and trained as an Aids counsellor in London and New York. In 1995 she was appointed by then-President Nelson