A life of service: Tony Trew

Saturday, April 27, 2019

An old African proverb goes that when an old man dies a library burns down with him.

This adage was not to be the case with National Order recipient of the Order of Luthuli and former Deputy Government Communication Information System (GCIS) CEO, Anthony “Tony” Trew.

On Thursday, Trew was bestowed the order by President Cyril Ramaphosa for his contribution to the attainment of democracy and to the reconstruction of a post-apartheid society.

Describing Trew’s work, the Presidency said he served tirelessly and loyally.

“His linguistic prowess and meticulous application of language is imprinted in many dossiers of government where he served tirelessly and loyally,” the Presidency on his bestowal.

In a knowledge sharing session organised by his former professional home, GCIS, the revered politician and discourse analyst reflected on his life of service.

“I’ve been involved in research to do with communication and policy. I spent half my life outside the country like many others and then when I came back it was just before the election in 1994. At that point it seemed to me as it did to others that whatever skills you have you should bring into government as part of the reconstruction efforts,” said Trew.

After the Former Deputy CEO of GCIS left his stint at President Nelson Mandela’s office he moved to GCIS.

“That was very interesting and exciting to be at the beginning of establishing a new and quite different communication system for government,” he said of work at the department.

Trew said during the establishment of the GCIS, the principle focus at that time was to make communication a part of development and reconstruction.

“During that time a lot of thinking was going on into the character of government’s communication. Central to this was to arm people with information to build their own lives in partnership with government,” he said.

Reflecting on his award, which was a successful nomination put forward by the GCIS -led by his former colleague and current Acting Director General Phumla Williams, Trew said he sees it more as a kind of recognition of his work.

“Work that doesn’t have a public profile but work that if done properly helps the life of a nation and helps progress,” he said.

Staying true to his love for research, Trew said he is working on a long study based on the country’s elections since 1994. – SAnews.gov.za