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Media briefing by Minister of Police - Hon Nathi Nhleko 02 March 2016

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma on Thursday bestowed the 2016 National Orders on distinguished local citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

Speaking at a glitzy award ceremony at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, President Zuma said the National Orders are the highest honour that the country bestows on citizens and foreign nationals.

“We confer the Order of Mendi, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo to distinguished persons who have demonstrated that it takes ordinary men and women to make our country and the world a better place,” he said.

The recipients received the orders as follows:

The Order of Mendi

The Order of Mendi is awarded to any South African who has performed extraordinary acts of bravery anywhere in the world, who put their lives in danger or ultimately lost it in trying to save the lives of others.

Messrs Hermanus Loots of Hertzog from the Eastern Cape, Ulysses Modise from Kimberley, Joseph Nduli of Mayakhulu in KwaZulu-Natal, all posthumously, were awarded the Order of Mendi.

The Order of Ikhamanga

Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, known commonly as BW Vilakazi, was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, which is conferred to South African citizens who have excelled in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sports.

Laurika Rauch received the Ikhamanga for devoutly using her music to speak out against the wrongs of apartheid.

Thomas Hasani Chauke received the Ikhamanga for his pioneering role in the development of Xitsonga music.

Sylvia “Magogo” Glasser received the Order for her role of teaching dance to black and white learners together in her home in Johannesburg during the difficult apartheid years which enforced separation, and for fundraising for their career development.

Dr Marguerite Poland received the Order for excellent contribution to the field of indigenous languages, literature and anthropology, including isiZulu Folklore, with five novels to her name.

The Order of the Baobab

Professor Rosina Phakeng, the Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation at the University of South Africa, was awarded the Order of the Baobab. It is awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service in the fields of business, the economy, science, medicine and for technological innovation and community service.

Prof Helen Rees, the Founder and Executive Director of the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute of the University of Witwatersrand, received the Order for championing public health care, especially child and maternal health and for her outstanding contribution to the fight against HIV and Aids.

The award is also awarded posthumously to the highly regarded pioneer in business and community leader, Marina Nompinti Maponya. She joined her husband, Richard Maponya, to establish a strong business empire and proved that black people were capable of running successful businesses, in the face of apartheid repression.

The Order of Luthuli

Suliman Saloojee from the Eastern Transvaal was awarded the Order of Luthuli, which is awarded to South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution in any of the following areas - the struggle for freedom, democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.

Saloojee was one of the key participants in the Defiance Campaign of 1952, and was killed tragically by apartheid forces in 1964.

Brian Francis Bishop, was also awarded the Order of Luthuli, for fighting apartheid tyranny through human rights activism and opposition to Group Areas Act’s forced removals.

Rev Dr Simon Gqubule also received the Order for his contribution to the struggle for freedom and the promotion of human rights.

Mac Maharaj also received the Order for serving in the post-apartheid government as Minister and also as presidential advisor in the fourth and fifth administrations, until his retirement in 2015

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who were among the recipients for the Order, endured periods of prison detention and banning orders by the apartheid government from 1958 and through subsequent years. This included a nine year banishment period in Brandfort, in the Free State.

Mary Thipe from Matatiele, former vice-chairperson of the ANC Women's League who worked tirelessly to advance the struggle for freedom during the 1950s, also received the Order of Luthuli. She participated in various campaigns, including taking part in the famous potato boycotts in Bethal, Mpumalanga.

Amy Rietstein Thornton of Cape Town also received the Order for her devotion to the struggle against apartheid.

The Order of Luthuli was also awarded in gold posthumously to Msizi Harrison Dube, based in Lamontville, in Durban. He was involved in various community struggles. He fought the introduction of the Bantu education curriculum in schools, for equal pay for equal work and against rent increases, using his famous slogan, Asinamali (we have no money).

Cleopas Madoda Nsibande received the Order of Luthuli in gold posthumously for his exceptional contribution to the struggle as an ANC activist from the 1940s and a prominent trade unionist who was very vocal about better wages for the workers.

The Order of Mapungubwe

Zwelakhe Sisulu, a journalist who used his craft to voice unrelenting protest against apartheid, and exposed the evils of the system, received the Order of Mapungubwe. In the process he endured long periods of detention without trial in the mid-1980s.

The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo

Noureddine Djoudi was awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo. This award is awarded to foreign dignitaries who actively promoted the freedom, justice, human rights and democracy, through active support and expression of solidarity for the struggle against apartheid colonialism.

Maria Petronella Adriana Kint received the Order for actively supporting the anti-apartheid movement in the Netherlands over many years, and for her role in the underground Operation Vula activities in Johannesburg until 1994.

President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the President of the Republic of Chile, received the award in gold for her exceptional contribution to the fight for democracy and freedom in her country and globally.

President Zuma congratulated all the distinguished guests who received the Orders -

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