ANC lauds veteran George Johannes over papal order of knighthood
CAPE TOWN - The ANC in the Western Cape province on Tuesday lauded party veteran George Johannes after he was recently bestowed with a papal order knighthood in addition to becoming South Africa's permanent ambassador to the Vatican.
In a statement the ANC, which is South Africa's ruling party but is in opposition in the Western Cape, said Johannes, an activist for justice and peace, was on June 18 awarded the Knight Order of Pope Pius IX by Pope Francis, the political head and spiritual leader of the international Catholics community who leads 1.4 billion people.
The ANC said Johannes, who has humble roots in the Cape Flats area, had worked in the Zambian capital Lusaka alongside anti apartheid icon Oliver Tambo, representing the party with "distinction" while in exile and later also serving a democratic South Africa.
"His journey from Elsies River where he was raised, to District Six where he attended ... school, into the membership of the ANC, exile, and later full political freedom in the country of his birth, shows how much South Africa has changed under the ANC," it said.
"He has given his life to the freedom struggle and is an example to our youth who may be tempted by gangsterism and other forms of self-destructive lifestyles that there is another way."
The ANC urged young South Africans to emulate the example of Johannes, calling him a living example of the message contained in the Freedom Charter that the country "belongs to all who live in it, black and white".
- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa