28 July 2015
South African politician Ebrahim Ebrahim has received the rank of knight commander, one of the highest honours given by the Spanish king to foreign citizens. The award is given to those deemed to have made an extraordinary contribution to politics, culture and society.
Other recipients of the Order of Civil Merit this year include Indian fashion designer Ritu Beri and Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the world’s largest NGO. “His Majesty the King of Spain has given this honour to a highly deserving freedom fighter who sacrificed a lot for freedom, peace, justice and human rights,” The Presidency said yesterday.
Ebrahim was a significant player in the anti-apartheid movement and was one of the few freedom fighters imprisoned on Robben Island twice. He is a former deputy minister of international relations, and was an important peace broker in conflict around the world. He is currently a parliamentary counsellor to the president.
“We congratulate Mr Ebrahim for this rare honour which he has described correctly as an honour for all the people of South Africa who made history by putting the past behind them to build a new society together,” said the president’s statement. “The honour was not only for his contribution to the South African struggle, but for strengthening the diplomatic relationship between South Africa and Spain.”
The knighthood was bestowed on Ebrahim in Pretoria on 25 July. “We are delighted that one line in your distinguished CV will now be associated with Spain’s recognition and appreciation,” Spanish ambassador Juan Sell told Ebrahim at the ceremony.