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Brian Francis Bishop (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Brian Francis Bishop (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the liberation struggle and fighting the tyranny of the oppressive apartheid state. He gave his life for the liberation of the people of South Africa.
Profile of Mr Brian Francis Bishop

Mr Brian Francis Bishop was a lifelong and active advocate for justice and opponent of racial segregation and the abuse of human rights. In his 20s he played leading roles in running night-school education for black people, in forming a human rights association and in opposing the Group Areas Act removals of communities. This was supported by frequent letters to the press.

He cooperated with and engaged others to protect disenfranchised people who were being forcibly relocated out of the Cape Peninsula. On selling his business and retiring at age 49, he devoted himself to exposing atrocities and assisting victims at Cape rural areas.

He has been recognised as a brave and effective campaigner for justice and human rights that made his contribution to the Struggle and to a peaceful transition to democracy. He drew attention to the negative impact of squatter camps on Africans in the Cape, which was designated as a ‘Coloured Labour Preference Area’.

Bishop obtained legal and diplomatic corps assistance to block the removal in mid-winter of ‘squatters’ from a site near the University of the Western Cape. On other occasions, he defied the apartheid authorities by setting up his caravan at St Thomas’ Church, Rondebosch to shelter ‘squatters’.

A thorn in the flesh of apartheid, He constantly sent through letters to the press challenging unjust laws and addressing public meetings. He signed a Civil Rights League pamphlet on the dilemma of judges required to make decisions on unjust apartheid legislation. He openly supported victims of security forces.

He accompanied his wife in 1985 in their Black Sash campaigning amongst rural communities. This included exposing security forces’ activities, taking statements, attending funerals (e.g. Steytler ville, etc) and trying to trace victims, such as the Cradock Four, the Pebco Three and Congress of South African Students’ leader Siphiwo Mtimkulu.

Bishop was killed on 28 December 1985, aged 50, in a car accident after they had interrupted their respective holidays to go to Bhongolethu, Oudsthoorn to take statements from residents about security force intimidation.