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Jeanette Schoon (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Jeanette Schoon (Posthumous) Awarded for:
Her definitive contribution to the fight against apartheid. Jeanette and her young daughter paid the ultimate price for democracy.
Profile of Jeanette Eva Schoon

Jeanette Eva Schoon, née Curtis was born in 1949 in Cape Town. In 1972, Schoon was Vice-President of the National Union of South African Students. She was part of the group that founded the Western Province Workers’ Advice Bureau in 1973. She moved to Johannesburg in 1974 and became a founder and member of the executive committee of the Industrial Aid Society. She worked as an archivist for the South African Institute of Race of Relations collecting information on trade unions and leaders of the labour movement. She was arrested under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act in 1976.

Schoon was released in November 1976 without being charged. However, she and members of the labour movement were banned for five years. She married Marius Schoon, a fellow struggle-activist, in 1977. As banned activists by law, they were not legally allowed to communicate so they moved to Botswana. In exile the Schoons continued with their anti-apartheid activities underground.

They resettled in Angola later on with their daughter Katryn and son Fritz.

In 1984, a letter bomb was delivered to the Schoon home. Jeannette opened it and the bomb killed her and her six-year-old daughter Katryn.

Their deaths were tragic but not in vain because the country counts their ultimate sacrifice as part of what brought the apartheid government to its knees.