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Mr Reginald “Reggie” Oliphant (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Mr Reginald “Reggie” Oliphant (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the fight against social injustices meted out against black people in South Africa. His steadfast belief in the equality of all citizens prompted him to confront the tyranny of apartheid.
Mr Reginald “Reggie” Oliphant was a teacher by profession. He rose to prominence when the Bridgton coloured community was under constant repression by the Oudtshoorn Municipality, which would evict residents from council houses because they defaulted in rent payment.

He put his teaching career on the line and took up the fight against the local municipality. As a result he was constantly harassed and detained, and never enjoyed a focused teaching career.

At one stage, after a long detention spell, the security police conspired with the then education authorities to have him transferred to a farm school in the small town of Kenhardt, an isolated town in the Northern Cape, far away from his family and community.

Undeterred, Oliphant quit teaching and returned to Oudtshoorn and revived his political activism and reunited with his fellow comrades. He and his contemporaries were instrumental in the formation of the United Democratic Front in their home region of the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo. They were instrumental in bringing national leaders of the anti-apartheid struggle to Oudtshoorn.

When the African National Congress was unbanned in 1990, Oliphant was unanimously elected its first chairperson in Oudtshoorn. After the 1999 elections, he was elected as Member of Parliament and served in the portfolio committees on public works and health respectively.

While visiting family members in Mitchells Plain in 2003, gangs shot and killed him in an ambush attack. Four gang members were later arrested, convicted and sentenced.