Since 2000, the IJR has recognised exceptional and extraordinary contributions to reconciliation and nation-building in South Africa.
The prestigious annual IJR Reconciliation Award honours those who, in their daily lives and ongoing work, have enabled South Africans from diverse backgrounds to begin living together with respect, dignity and in pursuit of the common good.
Together, they symbolise a society that promotes debate and active engagement, social justice, and tolerance.
Reconciliation Award recipients are profiled below, and further information about nominations and selection can be obtained from the IJR.
2009 Reconciliation Award: Albie Sachs
Albie Sachs is a lifelong activist and former constitutional court judge, and was granted the 2009 Reconciliation Award ‘for realising reconciliation through his life and work’. His human rights activism began in 1952, when as a 17-year old law student, he joined the Defiance of Unjust Laws campaign. Later, as a practicing lawyer he was subjected to frequent raids and banning orders, and endured 168 days of solitary confinement before going into exile in 1966. Upon returning to South Africa in 1990, Sachs devoted himself to preparing for a new democracy, as a founding author of the constitution and post-apartheid jurisprudence, and through his pivotal role in the development of the Constitutional Court.
2008 Reconciliation Award: The Shine Centre
The Shine Centre is a non-governmental organisation based in Cape Town, which provides early interventions and support to primary school learners experiencing difficulties with language and reading. Literacy support is provided by a corps of trained volunteers, many of whom are retired teachers and professionals. Shine fosters reconciliation through contact between volunteers and learners, but also contributes to longer-term prospects for increased equality and inclusivity through education.
For setting a example in promoting tolerance towards foreign nationals, and in striving to ensure dignity and justice for all in their community
2006: Ouma Grietjie Adams
For holding the community together in mourning, conflict and celebration
2005: Brigalia Bam
2004: Mary Burton
For her work in the Black Sash and elsewhere
2003: Dullah and Farieda Omar
For their contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation process
2002: PJ Powers and Sibongile Khumalo
2001: Pieter Dirk Uys
For enabling us to laugh at ourselves
2000: Tim Modise
For getting the nation talking