It is with great honour that the Nelson Mandela Foundation recognises Lucia Raadschelders on being posthumously awarded The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in Silver.
Before Raadschelders was a member of the Foundation’s archive team, she was a member of the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement for many years before working for the African National Congress, running safe houses in Swaziland and Zambia. She participated in Operation Vula, among other political activities, during the struggle for the liberation of South Africa. In later years, Raadschelders was a dedicated archival volunteer at GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action).
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo is awarded in three categories to eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore concerned primarily with matters of peace, cooperation, international solidarity and support and is integral to the execution of South Africa’s international and multilateral relations.
Raadschelders was a versatile member of the Foundation’s archives team for the best part of the past decade. Her speciality was photo collections and over the years she won enormous respect from photographers, publishers, exhibition curators and other stakeholders. “We will miss her professionalism,” said Director of Dialogue and Archives Verne Harris. “She brought to her work rich life experiences in support of social justice.
“Some of us got to know her in the 1990s and early 2000s when she worked for Atlantic Philanthropies and supported small NGOs and CBOs in continuing struggles for justice,” said Harris as he recollected moments with Raadschelders.
The Foundation is humbled to be given custodianship of the award by the Raadschelders family who saw it fit that the award remains in South Africa.