1) Archbishop Denis Eugene Hurley (born 1915 – died 2004) was the most significant Catholic leader in South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. During this time he gave himself unstintingly to promoting freedom, justice and peace in this country, as well as Church renewal especially through the implementation of Vatican II.
Ordained as a priest in Rome on 9 July 1939, Hurley wrote numerous articles and gave addresses on a wide range of issues, as well as engaging in countless initiatives to promote the agenda of freedom, justice and peace in his native South Africa.
His prophetic witness made him a significant contributor to the downfall of apartheid. It is fitting that his legacy should be made known to as wide an international audience as possible.
2) Ela Gandhi was born as the youngest daughter of Manilal and Sushila Gandhi and granddaughter to the iconic activist Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi children were raised in the spirit of Gandhi’s philosophy of a “life of labour…is a life worth living”- a philosophy that Ela carried with her in all her activities.
She is a peace activist and was a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994-2004, where she aligned with the African National Congress (ANC) party representing the Phoenix area of Inanda in the KwaZulu Natal province. Her parliamentary committee assignments included the Welfare, and Public Enterprises committees as well as the ad-hoc committee on Surrogate Motherhood. She was an alternate member of the Justice Committee and served on Theme Committee 5 on Judiciary and Legal Systems.
3) Archibald “Archie” Gumede (born 1914- died1998) was a South African anti-apartheid activist, lawyer and politician. Gumede was born in Pietermaritzburg to James Gumede, an early African National Congress leader. Archie Gumede led the Natal delegates at the 1955 Congress of the People in Kliptown during which the Freedom Charter was written. He was later an attorney and practiced in Pietermaritzburg.
He was a leader in the United Democratic Front, a broad-based coalition of groups seeking to end apartheid. Following the end of apartheid in 1994, Gumede became a member of the National Assembly of South Africa before dying in office in 1998.
4) Mirriam Cele has devoted her adult life to community-building and assisting others.
Cele initiated the unique Gozololo Project in KwaMashu, north of Durban, which seeks to provide homes in the community for abused, abandoned and AIDS orphans. Rather than institutionalise orphans, Cele’s philosophy is to find homes for these children within families in their community, where they can be provided with everything a child deserves: a home, a family, love, education and a childhood- in a model that sees the fostering families supported as well.Cele’s work is legendary and she has been widely honoured. She is, among others, the recipient of the Paul Harris Award (by the Rotary Club), the eThekwini Mayor’s Awards in 1999, the 2004 Fair Lady Claims Eau Dynamisante Woman of the Year Award and the Martin Luther King Peace Award.
Through her efforts to inspire and motivate the community, Cele has made a real contribution to the lives of over 2 000 orphaned children and she has contributed to finding a sustainable solution to a major challenge we face as a nation.