28 April 2016
Notable citizens and prominent foreign nationals who have played a significant role in building a free democratic South Africa, as well as have had a noteworthy impact on improving the lives of South Africans, will receive National Orders today.
The ceremony takes place at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, on 28 April 2016, a day after Freedom Day. The orders are presented by President Jacob Zuma, as the Grand Patron of the country’s National Orders.
The honours include the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.
Watch an awards ceremony:
The Order of Mendi for Bravery recognises South African citizens who have performed acts of bravery.
Recipients this year include:
Hermanus Gabriel Loots (aka James Stuart), Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) operative
As a lifelong ANC member and Umkhonto we Sizwe anti-apartheid operative, Loots was a member of the first Lusaka delegation to meet South African business in 1986 to begin plans to democratise the country. He was a member of Parliament in the first democratic parliament, from 1994 to 1999. He passed away in January 2016.
Maqashu Leonard Mdingi, trade unionist and political detainee
An important proponent of the trade union activism during apartheid, Mdingi retired from politics during the late 1990s to become a traditional tailor in Bizana, Eastern Cape. He passed away in 2013.
Ulysses Modise, MK veteran and head of Northern Cape Province National Intelligence Agency during apartheid
Instrumental in the formation of the Military Veteran Association in 1990s democratic South Africa, Modise is being recognised for his contribution to the struggle for liberation. He died in 2007.
Peter Sello Motau, Soweto MK commander during apartheid
Motau was killed during an ambush by covert apartheid police forces in Swaziland in 1987. The presidency is recognising his contribution to the liberation struggle through selfless sacrifice, bravery and thirst for freedom and democracy at the cost of his own life.
Wilson Ngcayiya aka Bogart Soze, MK veteran
He is recognised for his contribution to the fight for the liberation of South Africa, courageously placing his life in constant danger and inspired by a solid conviction in a democratic South Africa after apartheid.
Joseph “Mpisi” Nduli, MK operative and Robben Island prisoner
After a long career serving the ANC, Nduli was the first post-apartheid chairman of the ANC Durban Central branch. He was assassinated in 1995. The Presidency is honouring his contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa, with a steadfast belief in the equality of all citizens.
Sam Ntuli, Civic Association activist and ANC operative
Ntuli’s contribution in the field of peace-building during the violent and delicate final years of apartheid is being honoured by the Presidency. He paid with his life for his activism and dedication to democracy when he was assassinated in 1991.
Major General Jackie Refiloe Sedibe, ANC Women’s League veteran and former Defence Force chief director of corporate communications
Widow of the first democratic defence minister, Joe Modise, Sedibe fought for the liberation of the South African people and selflessly sacrificed home comforts to ensure that all South Africans lived as equals. Sedibe stills serves in the national defence force.
Dr Sizakele Sigxashe, first post-apartheid director-general of the National Intelligence Agency
Sigxashe passed away in 2011 and has been awarded the National Order for his bravery and courage of conviction. He left his home and loved ones for distant lands to fight for democracy.
Major General Peter Lesego Tshikare, MK operative, post-apartheid military intelligence representative from 1994 until retirement in 1998
Tshikare died in 2008.
The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
Recipients this year include:
Laurika Rauch, Afrikaans singer/songwriter
For more than 40 years, Rauch and her music have made outstanding contributions to raising awareness of the country’s political injustices. She has and continues to use her artistic talents to highlight injustices and promote humanity.
Thomas Hasani Chauke, Xitsonga singer/songwriter
Chauke has been responsible, for more than 40 years, for the development and promotion of Xitsonga traditional music in the country and on the continent. His prolific songwriting and performances have brought Xitsonga music and culture to a wider audiences.
Sylvia “Magogo” Glasser, cultural activist and dance instructor
Glasser opened the first non-racial dance studio in 1978 and against all odds and the apartheid government, enjoyed strong support from all South African communities for her skills in building up young people and passionate efforts to create social cohesion.
Marguerite Poland, author
Poland has been at the forefront of the promotion of indigenous languages, particularly in children’s literature, as well as anthropological studies. Her works are taught widely in South African schools.
Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, isiZulu author and poet
Vilakazi was the first black South African to receive a PhD in literature, in 1935. He published the first book of isiZulu poetry shortly thereafter. The world- famous street in Soweto, on which both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived, is named in his honour. Vilakazi died in 1947.
Professor Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng, mathematician and educator
In 2002, Phakeng became the first black female South African to obtain a PhD in mathematics education. She is currently the vice principal: research and development at Unisa. She is recognised for her contributions to science education and world-renowned research work.
The Order of the Baobab recognises South African citizens who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation.
Recipients this year include:
Professor Helen Rees, scientist and HIV/Aids activist
As founder and director of the Wits University Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, Rees’s groundbreaking research has helped to turn the tide on HIV/Aids in South Africa. Rees is a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge universities and is using her work in South Africa to beat the disease across the world. She has been recognised for her tireless efforts in educating and assisting local communities affected by the disease.
Marina Nompinti Maponya, businesswoman and gender activist
As a cousin of Nelson Mandela and the wife of eminent Soweto businessman Richard Maponya, Maponya played a vital role in developing and teaching gender equality in society and business during the 1980s. She is also recognised for her entrepreneurial success and contributions to society during apartheid. She died in 1992.
The Order of Luthuli recognises South African citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, nation-building, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace as well as for the resolution of conflict.
Recipients this year include:
Suliman “Babla” Saloojee, early political activist
A legal clerk and community activist, Saloojee was a member of the Picasso Club civil disobedience collective made up of politically active South African Indians opposed to apartheid. It included future ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada. Saloojee was arrested in 1964. He became the fourth person to die in detention.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, political activist, parliamentarian and struggle heroine
Recognised for her lifelong contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa, Madikizela-Mandela bravely withstood constant harassment by the apartheid police and challenged their brutality at every turn. She has become a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle and of the bravery and determination of the oppressed to gain their freedom, against all odds.
Brian Francis Bishop, civil rights activist and progressive politician during the 1980s
Bishop was killed in a car accident in 1985, along with Molly Blackburn, one of South Africa’s most prominent white campaigners against apartheid.
Msizi Harrison Dube, KwaZulu-Natal community leader and anti-apartheid activist
Dube is recognised for his excellent contribution to the struggle for liberation and his persistent pursuit of justice and better living conditions for his community and the people of South Africa in general. Dube was murdered during protest action in 1983.
Rev Dr Simon Gqubule, former United Democratic Front member, cleric, academic and community leader
Gqubule still serves the Nelson Mandela metropolitan area as a youth councillor and community leader striving for the improvement of society.
Mac Maharaj, ANC stalwart, post-apartheid government minister and former spokesman for the Presidency
Maharaj is recognised for his courage through the struggle years and his activism against the despotism of the oppressive apartheid government, as well as for playing an integral role in the first democratic government.
Mary Thipe, KwaZulu-Natal activist and former vice-chairperson of the ANC Women’s League
Thipe was involved in the Cato Manor Beer Hall March in 1960. She is posthumously recognised for her contribution to the liberation struggle and the fight for social justice.
Amy Rietstein Thornton, activist and founder member of the Modern Youth Society during apartheid, as well as a member of the South African Communist Party and the ANC
John Zikhali, Cosatu trade unionist and former president of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union in the 1990s
Zikhali is recognised for his contributions to challenging unjust labour laws through union development and galvanising workers. Zikhali died in a car accident in 2006.
Cleopas Madoda Nsibande, defendant in the 1956 Treason Trial, founder member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions and trade unionist
Nsibande was a steadfast fighter for workers’ rights during and after apartheid. He died in 2008.
The Order of Mapungubwe recognises South African citizens for achievements that have had an international impact and have served the interests of the republic.
There is one recipient this year:
Zwelakhe Sisulu, journalist, editor and first post-apartheid head of the SABC
Son of ANC stalwarts Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Sisulu is recognised for fighting for the rights of journalists and the freedom of speech. In 1986, he founded the New Nation newspaper, one of the few independent newspapers in apartheid South Africa. It was responsible for exposing the cruelties of apartheid and encouraging unity among people of different political persuasions to fight for liberation. Following a later career as an executive in various media businesses, Sisulu died in 2012.
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo recognises eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is an order of peace and co- operation and is an active expression of solidarity and support.
Recipients this year include:
Noureddine Djoudi, Algerian career diplomat and former ambassador to South Africa
The Presidency is honouring Djoudi’s steadfast support of the South African liberation movement during apartheid and his solidarity with stalwarts of the liberation struggle for the realisation of democracy.
Maria Kint, Dutch arts and culture manager
Recognised for her upliftment of arts and culture during and after apartheid, Kint was a founder member of the Arts & Culture Task Group in 1993. It was responsible for incubating the thriving art, dance, drama and other cultural facets of a nation and all its people in transition. She ultimately made South Africa her home, and is recognised her courage to challenge policies that violated human rights.
President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chilean president
A lifelong human rights activist, Jeria was an outspoken critic of Chile’s Pinochet government, an act that led to her detention and exile by the oppressive regime. After the fall of Pinochet, Jeria entered national politics and used her powers to change her country’s policies on gender rights and fair trade. Jeria was the first director of the UN’S Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. She has been a good friend to South Africa, both as a staunch anti- apartheid activist and later as a political ally in global politics.