Reggae legend Peter Tosh, a founding member of the renowned Wailers trio, which also included Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, will be honored by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 28th for his significant contributions to the country’s independence and cultural landscape.
As reported by apanews.net, Tosh is one of five non-South Africans who will receive the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, an honor established in December 2002 and awarded by the president to foreign individuals who have fostered South African interests and aspirations through collaboration, solidarity, and support.
Phindile Baleni, director general in the presidency, stated in a press release that Tosh will be acknowledged for his role in South Africa’s fight for freedom, as he utilized his musical talents to further the cause globally through his insightful and awareness-raising lyrics.
During South Africa’s apartheid era, Tosh, a passionate pan-Africanist, openly expressed his disapproval of the oppressive regime. He recorded the song “Apartheid” on his 1977 Equal Rights album and later released other militant tracks like “Fight On” (1979) and “Not Gonna Give It Up” (1983). Tosh also contributed to international opposition by performing at anti-apartheid concerts.
Born Winston Hubert McIntosh, Tosh penned several Wailers’ hits, such as “Get Up, Stand Up,” “400 Years,” and “No Sympathy.” He left the group in 1974 after Island Records president Chris Blackwell declined to release his solo album. Tosh’s solo debut, “Legalize It,” was released in 1976 and quickly gained popularity among cannabis legalization supporters, reggae fans, and Rastafarians worldwide.
Tosh, who was tragically killed on September 11, 1987, at his Jamaican home, was posthumously awarded the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s fourth-highest honor, in October 2012.
The South African government will also honor other recipients of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, including American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman for her contributions to the fight for freedom and raising awareness of human rights violations globally, as well as the late New Zealand anti-apartheid activist Thomas Oliver Newnham, UK’s Christabel Gurney, and German poet Ruth Weiss.
The late Oliver Reginald (OR) Tambo was a central figure in the struggle against apartheid, dedicating his life to dismantling the apartheid regime. His leadership on an international level helped mobilize global opinion against apartheid, and his compassion for freedom-fighters earned him the admiration of thousands of liberation fighters, according to the government