Distin­guished cit­i­zens be­stowed with Na­tional Or­ders

Vuk'uzenzele - - Sport, Agretnser&aclulture -

For decades the apartheid govern­ment sought to sup­press the hopes, yearn­ings and as­pi­ra­tions of the ma­jor­ity of South Africans. The his­toric strug­gle to win free­dom from colo­nial­ism, apartheid, racism and op­pres­sion cul­mi­nated in a new vi­sion in 1994.

From the ashes of our past we sought to build a so­ci­ety where all are val­ued, and have en­sured that the pur­suit of free­dom lives in the hopes and dreams of all our peo­ple. We have re­placed an end­less void of hope­less­ness and de­spair with a shared hope that to­mor­row might be bet­ter.

Since 1994 our col­lec­tive hopes and dreams have pow­ered us to a new dawn which is cel­e­brated an­nu­ally in April, which is the month we first gained our free­dom. Dur­ing Free­dom Month we look in­ward by re­flect­ing on our past, our present and our fu­ture, safe in the knowl­edge that we live in a coun­try free from tyranny and op­pres­sion.

An in­te­gral part of this jour­ney has been the an­nual Na­tional Or­ders Awards cel­e­bra­tion. These al­low us to pause and re­flect on the con­tri­bu­tions of those who have played an in­te­gral part in our evo­lu­tion from de­spair to hope.

Our Na­tional Or­ders cel­e­brate the in­clu­sive­ness and di­ver­sity of a demo­cratic South Africa, our peo­ple and our place in the African con­ti­nent. They em­body all that is good about a demo­cratic South Africa.

On 28 April 2018, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, the Grand Pa­tron of the Na­tional Or­ders, be­stowed awards on distin­guished lo­cal cit­i­zens and em­i­nent for­eign na­tion­als who have played a mo­men­tous role in build­ing a free and peace­ful demo­cratic South Africa and im­prov­ing the lives of South Africans in var­i­ous ways.

The Na­tional Or­ders are the high­est awards South Africa be­stows on cit­i­zens and mem­bers of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity who have contributed mean­ing­fully to­wards mak­ing the coun­try a free demo­cratic and suc­cess­ful na­tion.

Al­though they are awarded to in­di­vid­u­als they re­main a tan­gi­ble ex­pres­sion of our shared hopes and dreams. One of the main ral­ly­ing calls since 1994 has been to build a na­tion united in its di­ver­sity which has al­ways been a ma­jor part of the Na­tional Or­ders. The or­ders them­selves are an ex­pres­sion and recog­ni­tion that ev­ery sec­tor of so­ci­ety has been in­te­gral in build­ing our new so­ci­ety. The Or­der of Ikhamanga recog­nises South African cit­i­zens who have ex­celled in the fields of arts, cul­ture, lit­er­a­ture, mu­sic, jour­nal­ism and sport.

The Or­der of Baobab recog­nises distin­guished service in the ar­eas of com­mu­nity service, busi­ness and econ­omy, science, medicine and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

The Or­der of Luthuli hon­ours South African cit­i­zens who have contributed to the strug­gle for democ­racy, na­tion-build­ing, build­ing democ­racy and hu­man rights, jus­tice and peace as well as for the res­o­lu­tion of con­flict.

The Or­der of the Com­pan­ions of OR Tambo pays homage to friend­ship shown to South Africa by for­eign dig­ni­taries or heads of state and other em­i­nent for­eign per­sons for friend­ship to South Africa.

Al­though each of the cur­rent re­cip­i­ents stand out in their own way, what unites them is a com­mit­ment to build­ing a bet­ter coun­try and a bet­ter to­mor­row. Those who re­ceived the awards posthu­mously have contributed to our democ­racy and free­dom in im­mea­sur­able ways.

They were the van­guard of change and fought on the front­lines at a time when the price for de­fi­ance was of­ten death. We owe them an un­payable debt for their self­less­ness and their com­mit­ment to free­dom and democ­racy.

Each of the re­cip­i­ents this year once again rep­re­sent the best of us, but they also rep­re­sent all of us. Ev­ery per­son who is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing a bet­ter and more eq­ui­table to­mor­row is a hero or hero­ine. We salute the mil­lions of or­di­nary men and women who get up ev­ery day and work for a bet­ter fu­ture for them­selves and their chil­dren.

Build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture does not re­quire peo­ple to do ex­tra­or­di­nary things, it sim­ply re­quires a com­mit­ment from all to move South Africa for­ward. In the spirt of Thuma Mina let us draw inspiration from the Na­tional Or­ders Awards re­cip­i­ents. They are tan­gi­ble proof that the call to “Send Me” has re­ver­ber­ated for decades and will con­tinue as long as South Africans re­main united in our di­ver­sity.

Now more than ever South Africa needs self­less pa­tri­ots who will lead the charge for in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth and so­cial equality. By work­ing to­gether we can be­gin to undo the crip­pling apartheid legacy of poverty, inequal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment.

It will not be easy, but change never is. Those who faced a mur­der­ous apartheid regime never once thought it would be easy, and so it proved. Yet they pushed ahead buoyed by the hope that to­mor­row would bring re­newed hope.

In the year that we cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary of the life of Nel­son Man­dela let us take up the man­tle of change and en­sure that we rally be­hind the call to “Be the Legacy”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.