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Several activists, politicians, musicians, scientists and former ANC presidents are among the 31 people who will be awarded national orders on April 27, Freedom Day.
Chancellor of the National Orders Cassius Lubisi announced the list on Monday.
“It is usual at this time of the year that the president of the Republic of South Africa bestows the highest accolades upon citizens and members of the international community who have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world,” he said in a statement.
The orders comprise the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.
Neil John Sharrocks would be awarded the silver Order of Mendi after he helped save the lives of 44 children who nearly drowned when their bus fell into a river in Knysna in 2011.
Michael Janse van Rensburg would win a posthumous gold order after he drowned while saving a 14-year-old boy from also drowning in Klerksdorp in 2010.
Local dancer and choreographer Gladys Faith Agulhas, musician Johnny Clegg, author and playwright Muthal Naidoo, journalist Joseph Nong Thloloe and former rugby player and activist Daniel “Cheeky” Watson would be awarded the silver Order of Ikhamanga.
The gold order would go to musician Julian Sebothane Bahula.
Renowned pilot Selwyn “Scully” Levin, activist Gladys Ramahuta and entrepreneur Zane Maureen Wilson would receive the bronze Order of the Baobab.
Engineering professor Daniel Gerhardus Krige and the late reverend Fenner Christian Kadalie would receive silver.
Law professor Christopher John Robert Dugard and police officers Frank Kennan Dutton and the late Lwandle Wilson Magadla would all be awarded gold orders.
The Order of Luthuli recipients were all posthumous and consisted of syndicalist John Stephen Gomas, activist Elizabeth Sophia Honman (Bettie du Toit) and former ANCYL president and MP Peter Ramoshoane Mokaba for silver.
Former ANC presidents Josiah Tshangana Gumede, James Sebe Moroka, Alfred Bitini Xuma, Zaccheus Richard Mahabane and Sefako Mapogo Makgatho would receive gold orders.
Dr Patience Mthunzi would be awarded the bronze Order of Mapungubwe and virology professor Barry David Schoub, the silver.
Former ANC presidents Albert Mvumbi Luthuli and Oliver Reginald Tambo would receive the platinum order.
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo silver would be awarded to Professor Apollon Davidson and Randall Robinson.
A gold order would be made to deceased United States politician Edward Moore Kennedy, the youngest brother of assassinated US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The National Orders take place on April 27, as a way of commemorating the first democratic elections held in South Africa in 1994. - Sapa