Prof Bismark Tyobeka awarded National Order Of Merit by France

Professor Bismark Tyobeka, accompanied by his wife Ngeniswa, receives the National Order of Merit from French Ambassador David Martinon. Supplied

Professor Bismark Tyobeka, accompanied by his wife Ngeniswa, receives the National Order of Merit from French Ambassador David Martinon. Supplied

Published May 31, 2024


Professor Bismark Tyobeka, principal and vice-chancellor of the North-West University (NWU) has been awarded the prestigious National Order of Merit, also known as the l’Ordre National du Mérite, on behalf of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

The bestowing of the order was officiated by the Honourable Ambassador of France Designate to South Africa, Ambassador David Martinon, on May 24.

The ceremony took place at the picturesque Merton Keep in Pretoria, which is home to the French ambassador to South Africa. The National Order of Merit was created in 1963 and rewards distinguished merit.

“I stand before you in awe and with a heart filled with gratitude and humility as I receive this National Order of Merit from the President of France. I am grateful to the President and the French people for this honour. This prestigious award holds immense significance, not only for me but also to my family and the broader North-West University community,” said Tyobeka.

“I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the President of France – Honourable Emmanuel Macron, Ambassador Martinon, and the staff and partners of the French Embassy in South Africa who made this beautiful engagement a reality. This honour also demonstrates a solid and healthy relationship between South Africa and France, and our shared commitment and the fruitful collaboration between our two countries. I also wish to thank my family, friends and colleagues, whose continuous support has been instrumental in my professional journey.”

Tyobeka also thanked the South African government for fostering a healthy bilateral partnership with France.

“It is through this relationship that we can effectively collaborate with our counterparts across various industries and drive our countries forward. Our joint efforts contribute to the well-being of our people and the planet, and I am proud to be part of this ongoing partnership and collaboration,” he added.

In awarding the National Order of Merit, Ambassador Martinon said of Tyobeka: “It is a great pleasure to welcome you at the French residence in Pretoria to honour a great scientist, an engineer, a diplomat, a leader, but most importantly a friend of France. I am delighted to share this moment with your guests, your family as well as your friends, colleagues and fellow experts. Their presence is a living testimony of your continuous engagement, both professional and personal.

“Today is a unique occasion to highlight your numerous achievements for your country, the global nuclear industry, but most importantly your long-standing relationship with French institutions and the recognition of France in general.”

Ambassador Martinon listed Tyobeka’s various accomplishments in the field of nuclear energy as well as his academic pursuit and leadership qualities, among others, before closing with: “For all these reasons, I have the honor and pleasure on behalf of the French President, to bestow upon you the title of Knight of the National Order of Merit, de vous faire chevalier de l’ordre national du mérite.”

Tyobeka noted that, growing up in the small village of Nonceba, he could never have imagined being the recipient of such a prestigious award: “I hope it serves as a symbol of hope and inspiration for those striving for excellence, regardless of their circumstances or background. As we always say, your circumstances do not define your future, your determination does.”