Zuma to lead Freedom Day celebrations

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pretoria- President Jacob Zuma will on Friday kick off Freedom Day celebrations - to mark 18 years since the first democratic elections were held in in South Africa, his office said on Tuesday.

The celebrations, to be held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, will be observed under the theme 'Working Together to Build Unity and Prosperity for All'.

To further commemorate the day, President Zuma will confer the 16th National Orders Ceremony, which will take place at the Presidential Guest House in the evening.

National Orders are awarded to deserving citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed meaningfully towards making the country a free, democratic and successful nation, united in its diversity.

The orders comprise the Order of Mendi for Bravery, Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

Among those up for the awards this year are several activists, politicians, musicians and ordinary South Africans who have performed acts of bravery, such as Neil Johnson Sharrocks who will receive the Order of Mendi for putting his life at risk while saving the lives of 44 children who were in danger of drowning when the bus they were traveling in capsized and fell into a river.

Others include Michael Janse van Rensburg (posthumous) for the act of bravery, courage and fearlessness by putting his life in danger to save a fellow human being who was drowning.

For the Order of Ikhamanga, the recipients are Gladys Faith Agulhas, Jonathan "Johnny" Clegg, Muthal Naidoo, Joseph Nong "Joe" Thloloe, Daniel "Cheeky" Watson and Julian Sebothane Bahula, among others.