- A South African war hero finally returned home to Cape Town after his wrongful arrest
- Gareth Rutherford earned the Honoris Crux for his incredible show of bravery in 1980
- A plethora of yellow ribbons were tied across Cape Town in honour of his return
Gareth Rutherford literally went from hero to zero.
The former South African Defence Force (SADF) war hero was honoured in the greatest way possible when he received the Honoris Crux – South Africa’s highest recognition of bravery.
Rutherford, a Lance Corporal at the time, risked his own life to save his fellow soldiers in 1980.
However, he had the rug pulled out from under him in Kuwait on 18th September 2008.
SA People News reported that he agreed to take home a parcel on the day he was set to return to South Africa.
As he was just following orders, Rutherford opted not to check the parcel.
He was arrested, tried according to Kuwaiti law and convicted of drug and liquor trafficking.
Over the last decade, his friends never gave up hope of his release.
They drew up petitions and kept pressurising the South African and British embassies to intervene.
However, Rutherford’s prayers were eventually answered as he received unexpected amnesty a few weeks back.
Finally a free man, he returned home to Cape Town to a hero’s welcome.
In honour of Rutherford and the 1970’s hit song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” residents tied yellow ribbons all the way from the Cape Town International Airport through Kalk Bay and all the way to Noordhoek.
The South African hero was finally home and Cape Town made sure he knew he was welcome.
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