Five Indian-origin people in South Africa are among 54 recipients this year of the prestigious National Order, which would be conferred by the country’s President at the upcoming Freedom Day celebrations on Sunday.
The National Orders, now in its 20th year, are the highest awards that South Africa bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who have made a significant impact in improving the lives of South Africans.
“President Jacob Zuma will bestow to deserving recipients the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo,” the National Orders Chancellor Cassius Lubisi said in a statement on the presidency’s website, adding that the Orders would be presented in bronze, silver, and gold for varying degrees of achievement.
Three Indian-South Africans - Indres Elatchininathan Naidoo, Shirish Nanabhai and Reggie Vandeyar - would be bestowed with the silver Order of Mendi for Bravery award.
Indres Elatchininatha Naidoo would be honoured for his fight against unjust apartheid laws, and Reggie Vandeyar for striving for a free and democratic South Africa.
Shirish Nanabhai would be conferred for his bravery in the struggle against apartheid in the country.
Another Indian-origin person, Abdhulhay Jassat, has been chosen for the silver Order of Luthuli award for his excellent contribution to the struggle for liberation and advancing democracy among all South African citizens, through selfless sacrifice without regard to his own safety and well-being, the statement said.
The Order of Luthuli recognises 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.
Furthermore, Namrita Lall, an Indian-origin doctor, was chosen for her outstanding contribution in the field of medical sciences, particularly in tuberculosis.
She would be awarded the bronze Order of Mapungubwe that recognises South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement for the benefit of South Africa and beyond.
The National Orders are conferred April 27, as a way of commemorating the first democratic elections held in South Africa in 1994.
The awards ceremony would be held in the Union Buildings in Pretoria, with the theme ‘South Africa - a better place to live in’.