Winifred “Winnie” Madikizela-Mandela is among several people to be honoured for their role in the struggle against apartheid at the 2016 National Orders Awards ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday.
The awards will be bestowed by President Jacob Zuma on “distinguished local citizens and 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 ways”.
Madikizela-Mandela‚ the former wife of the late struggle icon Nelson Mandela‚ will be awarded the he Order of Luthuli in silver for her “excellent contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa”.
“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‚” the award citation reads.
Receiving the same honour will be Sathyandranath Ragunanan “Mac” Maharaj‚ a former transport minister who recently retired as official spokesman for Zuma.
Other well-known personalities who will be honoured at the ceremony include Afrikaans singer Laurika Rauch‚ who will receive the Order of Ikhamanga in bronze‚ which recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts‚ culture‚ literature‚ music‚ journalism and sport.
The award is being bestowed on her for her “outstanding contribution in the field of music and 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 reads.
Professor Helen Rees‚ who was recently awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE)‚ will receive the Order of Boabab in silver for her contribution in the field of medical science and research which‚ the citation states‚ has given hope to communities affected by the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
Also among those to be honoured on Thursday is Chile’s president‚ Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Chile) who will have the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo bestowed on her. The award recognises eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa.
According to the Presidency‚ the award is being bestowed on her 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.”