Zuma to bestow national orders

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will on Friday bestow National Orders on 29 South African and foreign nationals.

Among those to be honoured is much-celebrated late singer Miriam Makeba and long jump silver medalist Kgotso Mokoena.

This will be the first time the President has officiated the National Orders ceremony since taking office in May and the event will take place at the Union Buildings.

The National Orders are the highest awards that the country, through the President, can bestow on its citizens and foreign nationals.

They are bestowed on individuals that have contributed to the country's attainment and building of democracy and human rights as well as those who contribute to a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The late Makeba, who died last year after suffering a heart attack while taking part in a concert in Italy, is to be honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in gold for her exceptional contribution to the music field and the struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

The order is awarded to South Africans who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

The same order in bronze will be bestowed on long jump silver medalist Kgotso Mokoena in recognition of his good work as a sports ambassador and for inspiring the country.

The highest order, the Order of Mapungubwe, which is awarded to South African citizens for excellence and exceptional achievement, will be awarded to three individuals in silver namely Professor Hendrik J Koornhof, Professor Johan Lutjeharms and Professor Bongani Mayosi.

The Order of the Baobab, which is awarded for distinguished service which is above and beyond the ordinary call of duty as well as exceptional and distinguished contributions in business and the economy, science, medicine and technological innovation and community service.

This order in gold will be awarded posthumously to Reverend Mangena Maake Mokone in honour and recognition of his pioneering spirit in the formation of the African Ethiopian Movement.

The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, which is awarded to foreign nationals, will be bestowed in silver to Anna Abdallah in recognition of her sterling contributions in fostering friendship and co-operation between Tanzanians and South Africans during the days of exile.

The Order of Luthuli, received by South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution, will be awarded posthumously to James Sofasonke Mpanza for his contribution to the struggle for socio-economic rights and fighting for justice and restoration of the dignity of black people in urban settlements.

The National Orders will also be awarded to 15 living and 14 posthumous recipients.

Meanwhile, later today the President and Director General of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation Ayanda Ntsaluba will inaugurate the new Department of International Relations and Co-operation building.