Tamil descendent Judge Navanetham Pillay, South Africa’s first non-white woman judge who is of Indian origin, has been convened upon the highest French civilian the Legion of Honour.
- Pillay is presently the 16th commissioner of the Madrid-based International Commission against the Death Penalty, which works with the United Nations and other bodies in promoting the abolition of capital punishment.
- She was the first non-white woman judge of the high court of South Africa and has also served as president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which tried leaders of a genocide.
- A former UN high commissioner for human rights, Pillay became the first non-white woman to open her own law practice in Natal Province where she was born.
- Navanetham Pillay is of Tamil descent and her father was a bus driver also she was born in Durban.She holds a master of law and a doctorate of juridical science from Harvard University.
- Pillay in 2009 named as the 64th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
- She co-founded Equality Now, an international women’s rights organisation, in South Africa and has been involved with other organisations working on issues relating to children, detainees, victims of torture and of domestic violence.
- South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the country’s newly developing multicultural diversity.
- The country has 3 official capitals Pretoria (Administrative) Cape Town (Legislative)Bloemfontein (Judicial).