Presidency announces National Orders recipients

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pretoria - From top athletes Caster Semenya, Lucas Sithole and Cameron van der Burg, businessman Ray Ackerman to activists and struggle stalwarts Dawid Kruiper, Frances Baard and Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa -- these are some of the names on the long list of South Africans and eminent persons who are the recipients of prestigious Presidential honours.

Dr Cassius Lubisi, the chancellor of the National Orders and Director-General in the Presidency, announced the list of recipients of National Orders – the highest honours in the land – to recognise those who have contributed to the advancement of the country.

Lubisi said that the awards also recognise the contributions made by individuals towards building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, as envisaged in the Constitution.

“National Orders are the highest awards that our country bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals, who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans,” he said.

Announcing the list, Lubisi said Semenya, 23, a middle-distance runner and an Olympic silver medallist, was recognised for her achievements while faced with trying times from local and world athletics bodies. She was awarded the bronze award for the Order of Ikhamanga, which is given to South Africans who excel in the field of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

“For her outstanding contribution in the sporting field of middle-distance track running, her performance against all odds has made the country proud,” Lubisi said.  

While record-breaking Olympic medallist Van Der Burg, 25, was also recognised for his excellence in the breaststroke – and was given a silver Order of Ikhamanga – 27-year-old paralympian Lucas Sithole, who made a comeback from losing two legs and his right arm in 1998 to becoming the first African to win a Quad Grand Slam, was also given the same honour.

“For bearing witness to resilience; he pushes past his limitations to achieve the seemingly impossible and has made history in the process,” Lubisi said.

Businessman Ackerman was awarded the Order of the Boabab, which recognises those who contribute to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation, for providing scholarships to young people and conducting socially responsible retail business.

Kruiper, the late leader of the Khoisan people, was also awarded in the same category for his excellent contribution in raising awareness of the plight faced by the Khoisan community and successfully initiating the land restitution claim for his people.

Kruiper, well known for his acting role in The Gods Must Be Crazy II, made headlines after hitch-hiking from the Kalahari to Cape Town in 2004 to speak to the then South African President Thabo Mbeki.

For a full list of recipients, which includes renowned author Zakes Mda, soccer boss Jomo Sono, struggle stalwart Ruth First and anti-apartheid activist and actor Danny Glover, you can visit www.Presidency.gov.za.

The award ceremony for the recipients will be held on Freedom Day (27 April). – SAnews.gov.za

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