Tshwane - South Africa’s attainment of full democracy in 1994 would not have been possible without the unstinting support and solidarity of the international community, which made enormous sacrifices, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.
“Our freedom owes a great deal to the devout support of the international community. Many countries offered solidarity and opened their arms to our activists. Many people in our neighbouring countries lost life and limb for our cause,” Ramaphosa said at the annual national awards ceremony in Pretoria.
“It is therefore a special honour today [Saturday] to confer the Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo in gold to four former heads of state - excellencies Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and the late Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana.”
Ramaphosa said Pretoria would want to pay tribute to other nations around the world who also stood with the South African people during the brutal fight against apartheid, providing shelter and material.
“We also honour those remarkable human beings who stood alongside our people, at home and in exile, who provided material and other assistance to our students, activists, and combatants. In doing so, we express our sincere and eternal gratitude to them for joining a struggle that was not theirs, in a land far from their own, and for giving so much, for so long, to so many,” said Ramaphosa.
"Allow me to mention in particular ambassador Alexander Sergeevich Dsasokhov and Dr Slava Tetekin of Russia and Ms Rosita Johnson of the United States, whom we honour today. We wish to congratulate all those who are to be honoured today,” he said.
The national orders are annually bestowed on distinguished South African citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have played a momentous role towards building a free and peaceful democratic South Africa and improving the lives of humanity in various ways.
The awards bestowed on Saturday were in the categories of the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.
Ramaphosa, working with Chancellor of the national orders director general in the presidency Cassius Lubisi, bestowed the prestigious awards on 40 recipients, which included sports stars, political activists and former presidents, musicians, judicial officers, and artists.
A jovial former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke walked away with South Africa’s highest honour - the Order of Luthuli in gold - for his "exceptional contribution to the field of law and the administration of justice in democratic South Africa”.
The full list of recipients as provided by the presidency is:
The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism, and sport:
- Traci Mackie (bronze) for her contribution to the field of journalism and exposing the evils of apartheid. She exposed the covering-up of the manner Steve Biko’s death was reported and exposed those in the security branch who were involved;
- Elsa Meyer (bronze) for her excellent contribution to the field of senior athletics and encouraging the elderly to remain fit in their matured years.
- Hashim Mohammed Amla (silver) for his contribution to the sport of cricket. He has brought pride to the country with his many batting firsts in the international cricket arena and remains one of the leading batsmen of our time;
- Omar Badsha (silver) for his commitment to the preservation of the country’s history through ground-breaking and well-balanced research and collection of profiles and events of the struggle for liberation;
- Eric Risimati Baloyi (silver) for his contribution to youth development through training young boxers who have gone on to make South Africa proud in global competitions;
- Johan Botha (silver posthumous) for his excellent contribution to opera music and putting South Africa on the world stage. He courageously entertained multitudes and sang for good causes even at a time when his health was weakening;
- Lillian Dube (silver) for her contribution to the performing arts and raising awareness in women’s health issues through storytelling. Her creative ways of dealing with serious subjects through humour has been healing to the nation;
- Sipho Cecil Peter “Hotstix” Mabuse (silver) for his contribution to the field of music and social cohesion. His spellbinding music has consistently captured the imagination of the nation;
- Elana Meyer (silver) for her contribution to track and field athletics. Her commitment to her sport and her glittering performances put South Africa on the world stage a multiple times;
- John Koenakeefe Motlhankana (silver posthumous) for his contribution to the field of art. His works remain an inspiration to many budding and established artists;
- Thami Mnyele (silver posthumous) for his excellent use of art and cultural activism to confront injustice. His creative works remain a living legacy and witness that oppression does not diminish one’s talent;
- Advocate Nakedi Ribane (silver) for her contribution to the performing arts and literature. She has been a consistent advocate for equity and justice in the arts;
- John William Smit (silver) for his contribution and leadership in the sport of rugby. He captained his country to become world champions and has been the epitome of pride and commitment; and
- Neil Robert Tovey (silver) for his excellent contribution to South African football; his passion for the sport put South Africa on the world map when he captained the national team to winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
WATCH: Legendary actress Lillian Dube speaks of her Order of Ikhamanga in silver that was bestowed on her by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the #NationalOrders ceremony in Tshwane. Says she is glad she was honoured during her lifetime. #NationalOrders2018 pic.twitter.com/CfCjAaDeZ4
WATCH: Renowned soccer player& coach Neil Tovey who led Bafana Bafana the AFCON title in 1996 speaks of his Order of Ikhamanga in silver that was just bestowed on him by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Sefako Makgatho Guesthouse in Tshwane. #NationalOrder #NationalOrders2018 pic.twitter.com/7wNVIwII1O
WATCH: Order of Ikhamanga recipient John Smit talks to us following the #NationalOrders ceremony in Tshwane. As captain of the Springboks, he led SA to victory at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. #NationalOrders2018 pic.twitter.com/12nsIRXvmI
Order of the Baobab recognises South African citizens who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine, and technological innovation:
- Maduke Lot Ndlovu (silver posthumous) for his excellent contribution to transformation in South Africa. He contributed immensely to the development of black commerce in the country;
- Nkosinathi Freddy Ndlovu (silver) for his excellent contribution to the fight for the recognition of the rights of the people with disabilities. His courageous work continues to shine the light on the plight of the most vulnerable in society; and
- Violet Jacobeth Seboni (silver posthumous) for her excellent contribution to the struggle for the rights of workers and equality for women. She bravely took on the proverbial Goliath corporations and industries to fight for workers’ rights.
The Order of Luthuli recognises South African citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, nation-building, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace, as well as for the resolution of conflict:
- Ronald Bernickow (bronze posthumous) for his life-long contribution to the fight for social justice and persistence in challenging the system that oppressed the people of South Africa;
- Sylvia Motlagomang ''Mamza'' Benjamin (bronze posthumous) for her contribution to workers’ rights and her gallant fight against injustice. She bravely embraced the cause of disenfranchised workers and women;
- Godfrey Kenneth Beck (silver posthumous) for his contribution to the fight for liberation and equal rights for all South Africans. He bravely pushed back against the system that promoted inequality;
- Lillian Lily Diedericks (silver) for her contribution to the fight for the liberation of all South Africans and women in particular. She is one of the brave women who led the 1956 march to the Union Buildings to protest against the pass laws;
- Mary Fitzgerald (silver posthumous) for her gallant fight against injustice and inequalities enforced through racist laws. She was ahead of her time and her legacy continues to live on in downtown Johannesburg;
- Professor Farid Esack (silver) for his brilliant contribution to academic research and to the fight against race, gender, class and religious oppression. His body of work continues to enlighten generations of fledgling and established academics;
- Swaminathan (Swami) Karuppa Gounden (silver) for his life-long and courageous fight against apartheid oppression. He continues to live by the courage of his convictions in his pursuit of equality for all;
- Reverend Charles Hooper (silver posthumous) for his bravery and contribution to the struggle for democracy when the apartheid regime was at its most brutal. He left everything and fled to a far-away land to fight the racist system;
- Sibongile Mkhabela (silver) for her contribution to the well-being of children and young people and her gallant fight against injustice. She is part of the legendary 1976 youth that distinguished themselves with their bravery against apartheid;
- Maj-Gen Keith Mokoape (silver) for his contribution to the liberation movement. His service to the country from exile to democracy has been invaluable and remains his legacy;
- Rahima Moosa (silver posthumous) for her selfless contribution to the fight for freedom and gender equality in South Africa and gallantly facing down the oppressive government of the time. She left behind a rich legacy as a champion of women’s rights;
- General Maomela Moreti Motau (silver) for his contribution to the liberation movement and conflict resolution on the African continent. He distinguished himself with his invaluable work in the redevelopment of countries torn by civil wars;
- Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe (silver) for her tenacious fight for freedom and her steadfast support of incarcerated freedom fighters. She challenged the injustices meted out against the majority of South Africans;
- Inkosi Mhlabunzima Joseph Maphumulo (gold posthumous) for his selfless contribution to conflict resolution and to resistance against injustice and oppression. He paid the ultimate price for our freedom and hard won democracy;
- Justice Dikgang Ernest Moseneke (gold) for his outstanding contribution to the field of law and the administration of justice in South Africa. Through his leadership our fledgling democracy has continually administered justice without fear, favour or prejudice; and
- Dora Tamana (gold posthumous) for her sustained and brave fight against unjust laws and promoting the rights of workers. She consistently pushed back against the injustices meted out on the disenfranchised.
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo recognises eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore an order of peace, co-peration and active expression of solidarity and support:
- Rosita Johnson (bronze) for her contribution to the well-being of young South African exiles by enabling them to pursue their education, and for raising awareness, in the United States, of the plight of South Africans under apartheid;
- Ambassador Alexander Sergeevich Dsasokhov (silver) for his contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa and the Southern African region. His efforts assisted many young South African exiles both in Africa and the former USSR;
- Vyacheslav Tetekin (silver) for his contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa and the Southern African region. His efforts assisted many young South African exiles both in Africa and the former USSR;
- Joaquim Alberto Chissano (gold) for his outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. As the second president of liberated Mozambique, he was instrumental in transforming Mozambique into a thriving democracy;
- Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire (gold posthumous) for his exceptional contribution to the struggle for peace and liberation in South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, and the Southern African region. He worked tirelessly in ensuring that Africans are liberated from oppression and colonial rule;
- Dr Samuel Daniel Sam Nujoma (gold) for his opposition to the then government of apartheid South Africa. He led forces that fought alongside South African freedom fighters and posed a formidable challenge to the oppressive regimes in the Southern African region. The founding father of a free Namibia continues to be a great source of inspiration; and
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (gold) for her exceptional contribution to women’s leadership in the African continent. She tenaciously contained conflicts in a volatile region while ensuring recovery and development of newly founded democracies in Africa.
African News Agency/ANA