People who have helped advance democracy‚ excelled in various endeavours and improved the lives of South Africans are being recognised through the National Orders awards, writes Sipho Mabena.
The ceremony is under way at the Sefako Makgatho guest house in Pretoria.
“These citizens and international friends of South Africa have distinguished themselves in various fields. They have uncovered the secrets of science‚ enriched our cultures‚ re-imagined the frontiers of law and reasserted the immutable principles of human solidarity and empathy‚” President Jacob Zuma told the guests.
Those honoured include:
Mathew Brittain for his contribution in the field of water sport and for winning gold in the 2012 Olympics;
Khaba Mkhize (posthumous) for his contribution in the field of journalism and the liberation struggle;
Sizwe Lawrence Ndlovu for his contribution to the field of water sport and winning gold in the 2012 Olympic games;
Zinjiva Nkondo (posthumous) for his contribution to the struggle for the liberation of the people of SA and the creative use of his art as an orator and poet to prick the conscience of the apartheid regime;
Wayne van Niekerk for his contribution in the sporting field track of running;
Miltha Mary Calata‚ for her contribution to the fight against apartheid and to poverty alleviation; and
Former president and prime minister of East Timor‚ Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao‚ often referred to as the Mandela of Asia‚ for his contribution to the promotion of peace and resistance to social injustices.
Zuma said these recipients have “given concrete meaning to the eternal values of selflessness‚ love for freedom‚ racial harmony‚ equality and self-application so as to reach seemingly impossible heights of achievement the country proudly acknowledges”.
National Orders are the highest awards that a country‚ through its president‚ bestows on its citizens and others. These include the Order of Ikhamanga‚ the Order of the Baobab‚ the Order of Luthuli and the Order of the Companion of OR Tambo.