2019 OUTSTANDING FRIEND OF NIGERIA IN SOUTH AFRICA WINNER

RICHARD MAKHOSONKE MKHALIPH.

Richard is a South African from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga Province. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Amajuba Hospital in Volksrust, South Africa.  Richard's encounter and friendship with Nigerians dated back as far 1998 when he met and became friends with Sikiru Babatunde and Ishmail Banjo. “They taught me the Yoruba language, Nigerian food, and Nigeria clothes. I feel I am part of Nigerian culture especially Yorubas,” said Richard. 

In 2011, Ismail Banjo was attacked by three foreign nationals in Piet Retief at a location called Retiefville. These foreign nationals assaulted him and Ismail Banjo had to fight back in self-defense. He reported to the police but they didn't come to help him. In the course of the fight, Ismail accidentally wounded one of his assailants which eventually resulted in his death.  The community learned about this and his property was now at stake of being looted and burnt by angry locals and other foreign nationals. Unfortunately, Ismail was in custody and was not available to secure his property. Richard did unthinkably. He risked his life and took his car in the early hours of the morning,  loaded all of Ismail's properties and headed off straight to Pretoria, about 400km from Piet Retief, before anything could happen. Richard kept all of Ismail's property for the period he was kept in prison while the case lasted.  Eventually, Ismail was acquitted as he acted in self-defense and Richard handed over his property back to him. Richard and Ismail are still in contact up to date.