South Africa has awarded one of its highest civilian honours to a Chicago-born mother who became an international peace activist and motivational speaker following her daughter’s tragic death in Cape Town.
On Monday, Linda Biehl was among the thirty-eight recipients of National Orders for exception contributiongs to the benefit of the country.
President Thabo Mbeki awarded Biehl with the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (bronze class) for “displaying outstanding spirit of forgiveness in the wake of the murder of her daughter and contributing to the promotion of non-racism in post-apartheid South Africa.”
On 25 August 1993, Biehl’s daughter, Amy, an American Fulbright scholar working in South Africa against apartheid, was beaten and stabbed to death in Gugulethu, a township near Cape Town.
In 1998 the four young men convicted of her murder were granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) after serving five years of their sentence – a decision that was supported by Amy’s parents.
Easy Nofemela and Ntobeko Peni, two of the convicted men, now work for the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in Cape Town, a charity which dedicates its work to putting up barriers against violence.