British High Commission praises UP student heroes

Posted on March 07, 2016

Two students from the University of Pretoria (UP) recently received recognition and praise from UP and the British High Commission for their bravery, compassion and exemplary conduct during the #FeesMustFall student march through the streets of Pretoria to the Union Buildings on 23 October 2015.

Msizi Ndlovu and Modise Sefume came to the rescue of Helen Horne and Linda Hooper – two members of the British High Commission, who were conducting official business in downtown Pretoria on the day – when they were surrounded by a rampant mob and the rear window of their vehicle was smashed with a brick.

Shocked but physically unharmed, the women were struggling to extract themselves from the situation when Ndlovu and Sefume appeared on the scene. They provided assistance, finding a safe place to park the vehicle and escorting the women to a nearby medical clinic, which afforded security from the mob. They monitored the situation, remained with the women until the violence had passed and assisted with their eventual return to the British High Commission.

Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, says the actions of these students went far beyond peaceful conduct during protest actions. ‘Msizi and Modise acted with great responsibility, bravery and compassion, and are a great credit to themselves and our institution. I am honoured and humbled by the shining example of their truly remarkable conduct under difficult circumstances, which exemplifies the values of humanity, decency and social cohesion that we try to foster in our students. I do believe that they will in time receive recognition as role models to be emulated as we move together on our shared path towards inclusivity and social cohesion as an institution and as a country.’

Colonel John McCardle, Defence Adviser of the British High Commission, says the students' actions were worthy of praise and recognition. ‘We are all most grateful for their assistance in a time of need and their ability to stand up and be counted when the easier option was most likely to turn away. This was a terrifying situation which turned into something very positive; we met two great young men whom we will stay in touch with.’

Ndlovu is currently a sixth-year medical student at UP and Sefume completed his LLB degree in 2015. He is currently a candidate attorney with Schindler's Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers in Sandton. ‘This wasn't a random act of kindness. If we were placed in that situation again, we would do exactly the same because this is the way we were raised and what we stand for,’ says Sefume.


- Author Liesel Swart

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