South Africa’s former president and late struggle icon, Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Madikizela-Mandela has been honoured by President Jacob Zuma. In total, 32 distinguished people received the National Orders Awards as well as the families of the 17 people who were honoured posthumously.
Awarding the honour on the ANC stalwart on Thursday in Pretoria, Zuma referred to the “Winnie” as a “courageous woman who became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid”. The national orders awards were not only bestowed on Winnie but only to men and women who had “demonstrated exceptional service to humanity”, including Winnie’s former advisor Mac Maharaj.
Speaking at the occasion, Zuma said, “The award also goes to a struggle veteran who served a long prison term in Robben Island, many years of service in exile and in underground operations in the country, Mr Mac Maharaj.”
Madikizela-Mandela and Mr Mac Maharaj were awarded the Order of Luthuli. This category of order is given to South Africans who made meaningful contribution in the struggle for freedom, democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.
Sadly, Madikizela-Mandela was absent at the ceremony due to ill-health. Earlier this month, Neeran Naidoo of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, issued a statement at the request of the Mandela family, confirming that Madikizela-Mandela was in a Johannesburg hospital. However, she is currently recovering after the surgery.
“Her first surgery, for compression of the spinal nerve and pain relief, took place on March 8. It was followed by a second procedure on April 14 to assist with her recovery,” Naidoo said.
Mr Mac Maharaj on the other hand served in the post-apartheid government as minister and also as presidential advisor in the fourth and fifth administrations, until his retirement in 2015. The struggle icon resigned as Zuma’s special advisor on communications at the end of April last year, a position he had since January 2009. He was also diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent surgery in August 2015.
Recipients Of National Orders Awards Include:
The Order of Mendi for bravery
•Hermanus Gabriel Loots aka James Stuart (Posthumous)
•Maqashu Leonard Mdingi
•Ulysses Modise (Posthumous)
•Peter Sello Motau aka Paul Dikeledi (Posthumous)
•Wilson Ndaliso Boy Ngcayiya aka Bogart Soze (Posthumous)
•Joseph “Mpisi” Nduli (Posthumous)
•Sam Ntuli (Posthumous)
•Major General Jackie Refiloe Sedibe
•Dr Sizakele Sigxashe (Posthumous)
•Major General Peter Lesego Tshikare (Posthumous)
The Order of Ikhamanga – South Africans who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport
•Order was bestowed in bronze on Laurika Rauch
•Order was bestowed in silver on: Thomas Hasani Chauke; Sylvia “Magogo” Glasser; and Marguerite Poland
•Order was bestowed in gold on: Benedict Wallet Vilakazi (Posthumous) and Professor Rosina Mamokgethi Phakeng
The Order of the Baobab – South Africans who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation
•Order bestowed in silver on Professor Helen Rees
– Order bestowed in gold on Marina Nompinti Maponya (Posthumous)
The Order of Luthuli
•Order bestowed in bronze on Suliman “Babla” Saloojee (Posthumous)
•Order bestowed in silver on: Brian Francis Bishop (Posthumous); Msizi Harrison Dube (Posthumous); Rev Dr Simon Gqubule; Mary Thipe (Posthumous); Amy Rietstein Thornton; and John Zikhali (Posthumous).
•Order bestowed in gold on Cleopas Madoda Nsibande.
The Order of Mapungubwe – South Africans with achievements that have impacted internationally and served the interests of the country
Order bestowed in Gold to Zwelakhe Sisulu.
The Order of the Companions on OR Tambo – eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa
•Order bestowed in silver to Noureddine Djoudi (Algeria) and Maria Petronella Adriana Kint (The Netherlands).
•Order bestowed in gold on Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria.