26 September 2004
Former SA president and long serving political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, was voted the Greatest South African in a TV show that had the country nominate their 100 most favourite personalities. The ranking of the rest of the top 10 had yet to be decided. SABC3 intended to screen documentaries devoted to the top ten over the next nine weeks until December 9, the culmination of the vote. The top nine, following Mandela, were in alphabetical order: Dr Chris Barnard, F.W. de Klerk, Mahatma Gandhi, Nkosi Johnson, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Gary Player; Jan Smuts and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. There were some surprising inclusions in this list, such as Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid and Steve Hofmeyr, receiving more support than Walter Sisulu. The list included a number of writers, actors and singers, but only one painter, J.H. Pierneef at 99. Athol Fugard came in as the 100th greatest South African of all time. The program was stopped because of political pressure and the final ranking never took place.