Silas Nkanunu 2009

Silas Ntutuzelo Nkununu was born in Nqanduli, Transkei and completed his schooling at Healdtown High School, Fort Beaufort.  After leaving school, he had various jobs in Port Elizabeth as a labourer.  He worked as a bank teller for almost 12 years but could not get promotion to a senior post in the then South Africa because of his colour.

He began his law studies at UNISA and simultaneously served articles of clerkship.   In 1977, he was admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa and was later admitted as an attorney of the Appeal Court, High Court and Judicial Commission Court of Lesotho. He continued the struggle for human rights and was granted the right of appearance in the High Court of South Africa during 1996.

In 1999, he served as Acting High Court Judge in the Eastern Cape for a period of six months.  Furthermore, as co-founder of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers - NADEL, he has served as a member and as President and has also served extensively on the Law Society of South Africa.

His political involvement and interest in sport, especially rugby and cricket, began when he was at high school and where after he continued to champion for non-racial sport.  He served as an administrator from club to international level whilst at the same time was involved in various political campaigns which attracted persecution, detention and interrogation. 

The highlight of his rugby administration career was most certainly from 1998 until 2003 when he served as President of SA Rugby.  During this time he was South Africa’s rugby representative on the International Rugby Board. He was also involved as a cricket administrator right up until 1999.

He is currently a member of the National Council for Correctional Services and the Parole Review Board and serves on the Algoa Bay Charitable Trust as well as the Mzingisi Development Trust.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University recognises his contribution both to the legal system of our country as well as to SA rugby, and is honoured to present him with the Council Prestige Award.