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Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough (United Kingdom)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough (United Kingdom) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the creative use of performing arts to highlight the plight of anti-apartheid activists who died under suspicious circumstances.
Profile of Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough

Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough, CBE, is an English actor, film director, producer and entrepreneur. He is best known internationally for his two powerful historical films, Gandhi (1982) and Cry Freedom (1987), both of which brought liberation politics to the doorstep of Hollywood and the world, and honour two significant freedom fighters. Lord Attenborough has appeared in more than 70 movies and directed 12, and is considered a giant of the British film industry and one of the leading film directors of the world. 

Cry Freedom was the true successor to his Oscar-winning epic Gandhi, and was one of the few serious films made in the 1980s attacking apartheid in South Africa. In it Lord Attenborough explores the ideas of discrimination, political corruption and the repercussions of violence. In almost documentary-style, he reveals the brutality of the 1976 Soweto riots and makes a case for those fighting for the liberation of South Africa. 

His film contributed to building mass support against apartheid outside of South Africa and immortalised one of the country’s most celebrated and venerated leaders. He created an epic and a Hollywood classic, while educating and informing global audiences along the way. 

His political interests include the arts, education, disability and underdeveloped countries. He was knighted in 1976 and made a life peer in 1993. Lord Attenborough was Chairperson of the British Film Institute between 1981 and 1992 and continues to play a crucial role in British film culture.