South Africa honours heroes

28 April 2010

African jazz legends Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, African Queen of Ndebele Music Peki Nothembi Mkhwebane, paralympian Ernst van Dyk and theatre champion Winston Ntshona were among those honoured with South Africa’s highest civilian awards on Freedom Day.

Order of Ikhamanga

The four were all honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga, which recognises excellence in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. “Ikhamanga” is derived from the Xhosa name for the strelitzia flower.

Also awarded the Order of Ikhamanga on Tuesday were the late journalist and former City Press editor Percy Qoboza, who was posthumously honoured for his contribution to journalism in South Africa; Grant Khomo, Peki Mkhwebane, and the Makana Football Association.

National Orders are awarded to individuals who have excelled in shaping the future of South Africa in various respects. President Jacob Zuma awarded 32 certificates and medals during Tuesday’s ceremony at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.

Order of Mendi

The late struggle veteran Harry Gwala was honoured with the Order of Mendi for Bravery. Zuma described Gwala as “the Lion of the Midlands, who fought for freedom tirelessly and with everything at his disposal until the end of his days”.

Gwala was one of the organisers of the national stay-away of workers in 1950. He was consistently listed under the Suppression of Communism Act, and served with a two-year banning order which limited his movement to the Pietermaritzburg area.

After 1994, Gwala became a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and served as an ANC Chief Whip.

Other recipients of the Order of Mendi were Phila Portian Ndwandwe, Kgosi Galeshewe, Makhosi Nyoka, and the G5 unit of the African National Congress’s former armed wing, Umkhonto Wesizwe.

Order of the Companions of OR Tambo

The Order of Mapungubwe, of the Baobab and of the Companion of OR Tambo are the highest awards bestowed by the President to citizens and eminent foreign nationals for outstanding achievements.

Jacques Rogge, who through the International Olympic Committee turned the world of Olympics against apartheid South Africa, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, and Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou, were all awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, which is given to foreign nationals for friendship towards South Africa.

Blatter was praised for helping South Africa to host the Fifa World Cup on the continent for the first time.

Others awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo were: Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos; the late George Houser, who was at the forefront of the civil rights and solidarity movements in the United States; Sadako Ogata, head of the UN delegation to the multi-party talks that paved the way for SA’s first democratic elections in 1994; Vernon Berrangep; Lord Joel Joffe; and Herbert and Joy Kaiser.

Angola was home to many politicians during the struggle for freedom in South Africa, and Dos Santos is credited with assisting the ANC’s underground members in their fight against the apartheid regime.

Zuma said South Africa was humbled by the sacrifices made by these non-South Africans in the fight against the apartheid regime. “We were not alone in our struggle. At every moment we were joined by men and women of outstanding integrity and humanity from all over the world,” he said.

Orders of Mapungubwe, Baobab, Luthuli

The Order of Mapungubwe went to Monique Dahl, Douglas Stuart Butterworth and Johann Lutjeharms.

The Order of the Baobab was received by Malebone Luthuli, Malefu Mphathane, Imitiaz Suliman, Vincent Naidoo and James Dwane.

And the Order of Luthuli was given to Sonia Bunting, Dorothy Cleminshaw, Nongolozi Mngomezulu, Jabulani Nxumalo, James Vigne and Stephen Dlamini.

Source: BuaNews