WINDHOEK – The South African government has awarded Founding President Sam Nujoma the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in Gold. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa awarded the order to Nujoma on Saturday at the national orders ceremony in Pretoria, where he mentioned that the event this year was to be done in memory of former president Nelson Mandela.
Ramaphosa said the National Orders are a recognition of the many outstanding individuals who defied great odds to make an immense contribution in various spheres of life.
The National Orders ceremony recognised South Africans and foreign nationals, who have contributed to the betterment of the country across different fields.
“We express our gratitude to them for joining the struggle that was not theirs in a land far away from their own,” said Ramaphosa.
“These National Orders are essentially a recognition of the many outstanding individuals, who defied great odds to make an immense contribution in various spheres of life,” he said.
“Our freedom opened windows of opportunity for many to chase their dreams, for many to excel, to succeed, and in so doing to inspire others to reach beyond what they imagined was possible themselves. We dedicate this year’s ceremony to the memory of the father of our nation, former president Nelson Mandela, who more than any other embodied the spirit and the meaning of these national orders,” he said.
Besides Nujoma, the Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo in Gold was bestowed on three other former heads of state, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano‚ former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and the late Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana.
Tambo was a South African anti-apartheid politician and revolutionary, who served as president of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1967 to 1991.
Along with South Africa’s late founding President, Nelson Mandela, and his anti-apartheid activist counterpart, Walter Sisulu, they formed the ANC Youth League in 1943. Tambo died on April 24, 1993.
President Hage Geingob last week said the award to the Founding President is testimony to Nujoma’s selfless personal sacrifices as a freedom fighter, but an award he will accept on behalf of the Namibian people to whom he has demonstrated love and commitment.
“It is a proud moment for Namibians when one of the best in their fold is elevated by the sister people of South Africa to the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, Gold,” he said.