President Ramaphosa bestows National Orders

Saturday, April 28, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Grand Patron of the National Orders, on Saturday bestowed awards on a long list of South African and foreign recipients at a prestigious event held at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane.

“I am honoured to preside over this National Orders ceremony to honour those among us who have made outstanding contributions to our country and to the broader global community, the President said at the ceremony attended by various dignitaries across the South African society.

The National Orders ceremony, which is held annually, followed the celebration of the national Freedom Day on Friday.

“These national orders are a recognition of the many outstanding individuals who defied great odds to make an immense contribution in various spheres of life.
“Our freedom opened windows of opportunity for many to chase their dreams, to excel, to succeed, and in so doing to inspire others to reach beyond what they imagined possible,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President conferred the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo to the deserving recipients.

The list of 40 individuals honoured also included former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who received the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in gold.

Also on the list of those awarded were veteran actor Lillian Dube, soccer legend Neil Tovey and former Deputy Chief Justice Digkang Moseneke.

“I feel so happy and overwhelmed especially to be acknowledged in my country. Previously I was acknowledged in Lesotho and it bothered me that my home never honoured me. But now I am very happy because it was done during my lifetime,” an exited Dube said after the ceremony.

The National Orders are the highest awards that South Africa bestows to citizens and members of the international community, who have contributed meaningfully towards making the country a free democratic and successful nation, united in its diversity.

Neil Tovey, who led Bafana Bafana to the African Cup of Nations victory in 1996 received the Order of Ikamanga in silver.

Former Springboks captain, John Smit, who led the national side to victory and lifted the Webb Ellis trophy at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, described his award as incredible occasion in his successful career.

“Today is an unbelievable occasion to be bestowed with an honour like this by the President himself, among these incredible recipients from far and wide. It’s quite humbling and a special moment,” he said. Smit was awarded the Order of Ikamanga in silver for his contribution and leadership in the sport of rugby.

The Awards were given in four categories namely, the Order of Ikhamanga  (in silver and bronze), Order of Baobab (in silver); Order of Luthuli ( in gold, silver and bronze) and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (in gold, silver and bronze).

The Order of Baobab recognises South African citizens who have contributed to community service, business and medicine, among others, while the Order of Luthuli recognises citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy and nation building, among others.

The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo recognises eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to the country.

This award was given to former Mozambican President Joaquim Chisano, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who received their awards in absentia.  Former President of Botswana Quett Ketumile Joni Masire was honoured posthumously while former President of Namibia Sam Nujoma received a standing ovation.

President Ramaphosa said, for its freedom, South Africa 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. We express our sincere and eternal gratitude to them for joining a struggle that was not theirs, in a land far from their own,” said President Ramaphosa.

Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor, who also attended the ceremony, said the OR awards serve as a vital recognition mechanism.

“These National Orders that we are celebrating today are a vital recognition for the contribution of many people throughout the world to helping us end the evil of apartheid. They supported South Africa in the struggle for freedom. Of particular significance for me is that one of the awards is named after our great leader, OR Tambo who made an amazing contribution to building the international front of the struggle against apartheid,” said Minister


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