24 outstanding South Africans

22 December 2004

Twenty-eight men and women – along with SA’s 2010 World Cup bid committee and the executive committee of world football’s governing body, Fifa – were the latest to receive South Africa’s highest honours for exceptional achievement, for excellence in the creative arts and sport, for friendship to South Africa, and for courage in the face of great danger.

President Thabo Mbeki bestowed the Order of Mapungubwe, Order of Ikhamanga, Order of the Companions of OR Tambo and Mendi Decoration for Bravery on 24 South Africans and four foreign nationals at a gala ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 29 October.

Mendi Decoration for Bravery Mendi Decoration for Bravery
Mbeki presented three South Africans with the Mendi Decoration for Bravery:

Richard Barney Lekgotla Molokoane (1957-1985) – was awarded the Mendi Decoration in the gold class for inspiring leadership, exceptional bravery and readiness to risk his life fighting for liberation. From 1978 to 1985, the Umkhonto we Sizwe commander led a number of successful missions into the country, including the daring and sophisticated sabotage of the Sasol plant and the shelling of the SA Defence Force’s Voortrekkerhoogte headquarters. In 1985, after sabotaging the industrial complex at Secunda, Molokoane and the two other members of his unit were intercepted by SADF forces. The ensuing battle lasted four hours, ending only when Molokoane and his men were incinerated by a napalm bomb dropped by an SADF helicopter.

Jimmy Booysen – was awarded the Mendi Decoration in the silver class for risking his life while saving three children from a burning shack in Goodwood, Cape Town on 15 August 1995.

Etienne Gunter – was awarded the Mendi Decoration in the bronze class for saving a 61-year-old woman from drowning offshore, under extremely dangerous conditions, at Voelklip-Mond near Hermanus on the Southern Cape coast on 31 January 2001.

Order Mapungubwe Order of Mapungubwe
Mbeki presented three South Africans with the Order of Mapungubwe for excellence and exceptional achievement:

Sydney Brenner – was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in the gold class for his exceptional contribution in the field of medicine. The South African born and educated molecular biologist, along with two of his colleagues, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their research into the genetic development of organs and the “programmed death” or “suicide” of cells.

 

 

Tshilidzi Marwala – was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in the bronze class for outstanding achievements in the field of engineering science. Thirty-three year-old Marwala, an associate professor at the the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering, has published over 50 papers in international journals, conference proceedings and books and received over 30 academic awards.

Batmanathan Dayanand Reddy – was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in the bronze class for outstanding contributions to the fields of mathematics and science. Reddy, professor in applied mathematics and dean of the science faculty at the University of Cape Town, has written or co-written over 85 articles, mostly in international academic journals. Among his numerous honours, Reddy was awarded an A rating by the National Research Foundation in 1996 and every subsequent year since then.

Order of Ikhamanga Order of Ikhamanga
Mbeki presented 18 South Africans – along with SA’s 2010 World Cup bid committee – with the Order of Ikhamanga for excellence in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport:

Joseph Albert Mashite Mokoena (1919-1969) – was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in the gold class for exceptional contribution to the field of mathematics and dedication to the development of South Africa and the continent.

Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba (1912-2001) – commonly known as George Pemba -was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in the gold class for his pioneering contribution to painting and literature.

SA’s 2010 Soccer World Cup Bid Committee – led by CEO Danny Jordaan – was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in the gold class for great wisdom and leadership in the country’s successful bid to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Sathima Bea Benjamin (silver) – for her contribution as a jazz artist in the development of music in South Africa and internationally, and for contributing to the struggle against apartheid.

Johannes Jacobus Degenaar (silver) – for his contribution to philosophy and literature, his intellectual honesty and principled role in the broad struggle to resist conformity to apartheid ideology.

Natalie Du Toit (silver) – for achievements in the international sporting arena and serving as an inspiration to all South Africans.

 

 

Vera Gow (Adams) (silver) – for her contribution to the development of arts and culture in South Africa and performance in the field of operatic music.

Hassan Howa (silver) – for his contribution to the struggle for and development of non-racial sport in South Africa.

Ingrid Jonker (1933-1965) (silver) – for her contribution to literature and commitment to the struggle for human rights and democracy in South Africa.

Elsa Joubert (silver) – for her achievements in literature and contribution to the development of journalism in South Africa.

Alfred Khumalo (silver) – for his contribution to documentary photography and journalism in South Africa.

 

 

Elijah Makhathini (silver) – for his contribution to and achievements in South African boxing against apartheid odds.

James Matthews (silver) – for his achievements in literature, contribution to journalism and inspirational commitment to the struggle for a non-racial South Africa.

Theo Mthembu (silver) – for his contribution to the development of boxing as a professional fighter, trainer and writer, and to the struggle for non-racial sport in South Africa.

Dolly Rathebe (1930-2004) (silver) – for her contribution to music and the performing arts and commitment to the ideals of justice, freedom and democracy.

Mmapula Mmakgoba Helen Sebidi (silver) – for her contribution in the field of visual and traditional arts and craft.

Sewsunker Sewgolum (1930-1978) (silver) – for his achievements in the field of golf and his perseverance in the face of debilitating apartheid laws.

Victor Ralushai (bronze) – for his contribution to indigenous history, knowledge systems and heritage.

Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph (bronze) – for her contribution as a composer, pianist and teacher to the development of music in South Africa and internationally.

Order of the Companions of OR Tambo Order of the Companions of OR Tambo
The recipients of South Africa’s highest civilian award for foreign nationals went to four people – along with the executive committee of world football’s governing body, Fifa.

Lennart Johansson – vice-president of Fifa for the past 14 years. As chairperson of both the World Cup organising committee and the World Cup Bureau in Italy in 1990, the USA in 1994, France in 1998, Korea-Japan in 2002, Germany in 2006 and – soon to be – South Africa in 2010, he has been instrumental in transforming the World Cup into the biggest sporting event on earth.

Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) – for his contribution to the struggle against colonialism and for a better and peaceful Africa and the world. Nasser, the second President of Egypt, is arguably one of the most important Arab leaders in history.

Trevor Richards – for his contribution to the struggle for the attainment of a non-racial, free and democratic South Africa through consistent advocacy of non-racial sport and the boycott of apartheid sport. Richards was the co-founder of HART (Halt All Racist Tours), formed in 1969 to co-ordinate opposition to New Zealand’s 1970 rugby tour to SA. Over the next 20 years, HART – which Richards chaired for 10 years – actively contributed to the international campaign to stop all sports tours to and from SA.

Ahmed Sekou Toure (1922-1984) – first president of Guinea (1958-1984), for his contribution to a free, united, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

 

  • 2003 national orders awards
  • 2002 national orders awards
  • South Africa’s national orders
  • Orders for ‘ordinary people’

 

SouthAfrica.info reporter