South African activist and politician, Winifred Madikizela-Mandela has been selected as one of the recipients of the 2016 National Orders Awards which will take place in Pretoria on Thursday.
‘Winnie’ would be receiving the enviable award along with other notable and prominent South Africans.
However, it is found from the award citation that the national order award will not only be bestowed on famed South Africans but also on “eminent foreign nationals who have played a momentous role towards building a free democratic South Africa and who also have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans in various way”.
President Zuma, who is on an official visit to Iran is expected to perform the grand ceremony on the deserving recipients for their role in the struggle against apartheid.
Part of the citation reveals that “Madikizela-Mandela‚ the former wife of the late struggle icon Nelson Mandela‚ will be awarded the Order of Luthuli in silver for her excellent contribution
She bravely withstood constant harassment by the apartheid police and challenged their brutality at every turn. She became a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle and of the bravery and determination of the oppressed to gain their freedom‚ against all odds.”
Winifred Madikizela-Mandela’s Marriage
Winifred Madikizela-Mandela was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including the 27 years during which he was imprisoned. Although they were still married at the time of his becoming South Africa’s president in May 1994, the couple had separated two years earlier.
Some prominent South African citizens who also made the list include Sathyandranath Ragunanan “Mac” Maharaj‚ a former transport minister who recently retired as official spokesman for Zuma, Afrikaans singer Laurika Rauch‚ who will receive the Order of Ikhamanga in bronze‚ which recognises citizens who excelled in the fields of arts‚ journalism, culture‚ music, sport and literature.
Rauch would be honored for her “outstanding contribution in the field of music and for raising awareness on political injustices through music. She bravely deployed her artistic talents to highlight the injustices and tyranny of the apartheid rule,” the citation states.
Others are professor Helen Rees‚ who will receive the Order of Boabab in silver for her outstanding contribution in the field of medical science and research. We will recall that Rees recently received an award of an Order of the British Empire (OBE). Back home, her tremendous medical assistance has really given hope to communities affected by the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
Importantly, Chile’s president‚ Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Chile) is expected to smile home with a national award. She will be bestowed an Order of the Companions of OR Tambo. The award category actually recognises distinguished foreign nationals who are friendly with the rainbow nation.
The citation reads that Jeria would be honored for her “exceptional contribution to the fight for democracy at the global stage. She was imbued with a deep sense of justice and the courage of her convictions‚ which drove her from Chile to exile.”
Meanwhile, reports say that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s name was the last added to the award list because as at Friday when the gazetted list was issued, her name was missing. But presidency spokesman Bongani Majola confirmed on Sunday that Madikizela-Mandela’s name would be gazetted.