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Chikane: National Orders awards ceremony (02/12/2003)

2nd December 2003


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Date: 02/12/2003
Source: The Presidency
Title: Chikane: National Orders awards ceremony


The President of the Republic of South Africa and Mme Zanele Mbeki
The Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini and Her Majesty
Distinguished Nominees of the National Orders and their Families
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Deputy Speaker
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the Deputy Chairperson
Honourable Premiers
Your Excellency, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Honourable Leaders of Political Parties represented in our Parliament
Members of the Judiciary
His Worship, the Acting Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Tshwane
Honoured Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen

We welcome you to this Second Investiture Ceremony of the new National Orders on behalf of the President and the Government of the Republic of South Africa.

May I, with your permission, borrow from your words in the Speech, Africa's Time Has Come, and say that:

It is not given to every generation that it should be present during and participate in the act of creation. I believe that ours is privileged to occupy such historic space.

I wish to submit, Mr President, that our generation is indeed a privileged one. We are privileged, Mr President, more than any other generation to be part of this historic act of conceiving and designing new National Orders and the new Coat of Arms for this new democratic country. We are privileged as a generation to be part of the conception and design of a new national flag as well as develop a new national anthem. We are privileged to be part of the process of self-creation, of defining who we are and what we want to be.

Indeed we do occupy, Mr President, a historic space such as the one you refer to in your speech.

The difficult and complex task you gave us to develop new National Orders to express the new identity of our new democratic society has been accomplished. The Order of Luthuli, the Order of Ikhamanga and the Mendi Decoration are ready for you, Mr President, to honour these distinguished South Africans present here and those who are departed.

In this regard, I would like to thank you, Mr President, for leading us in creative thinking and artistic work, for driving us to think 'outside the box' of traditions of old and static conventions of heraldry, to break new ground and create something new! I must confess that you never made our lives easy. The task of course, was not easy.

I wish to also thank the Advisory Council for National Orders for their dedicated work, advice and guidance in the development of these new Orders. Dr Yvonne Muthiuen, the Chairperson of the Council, offered many hours of her time on this project to ensure that we have the new Orders completed on time.

The actual designers of these last three Orders, Mr President, deserve special recognition. Accordingly, I wish to present to you, Mr President, and to this august convocation Messrs Gold Mametja and Gareth Smart. Their perceptive minds have given rise to these creative designs. They have used their craft to capture the unknown, the new identity and being of the new South Africa society.

As you would know, Mr Gold Mametja designed the first three National Orders, namely, the Order of Mapungubwe, The Order of the Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo. As you would know, Mr Mametja is an Industrial Designer at the CSIR. We thank the CSIR for availing him to serve the nation in the special way in which he has done.

Mr Gareth Smart, a freelance graphic designer, animator and conceptualist, joined Gold Mametja this time to participate in this extra-ordinary creative work for our country.

I would like, Mr President, to thank them on your behalf and on behalf of the people of South Africa. Their creative genius has really done our country proud.

I would also like to thank the Ministers and staff in the Presidency, GCIS and Arts, Culture, Science and Technology for their immense contribution to the process of developing these Orders and for arranging for this Ceremony. Mr Mandla Feni, the Secretary of the Chancery, has done sterling work to support this process.

And, finally, we wish to acknowledge the presence of Dr Albertinah Luthuli who has graced us with her presence. We are greatly honoured to have you with us in this ceremony. Your esteemed family name has been institutionalised in our national orders, for which we are eternally thankful.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now commend to you these exceptional women and men for the honours as the President has determined.

But, before you start with the Ceremony may I, Mr President, express our utter sadness and anguish, for death has robbed us of one of the distinguished nominees of the Order of Ikhamanga, Dr Lionel Ngakane. He passed away last Wednesday after the President had put his seal on his nomination.

As you would know, Dr Ngakane distinguished himself in South Africa, on the African continent and internationally in the fields of cinema, television, theatre and radio as an actor, writer and producer.

May I take this opportunity, Mr President, to express our condolences to the family and friends. His brother, Dr Pascal Ngakane, is here with us and we ask him to convey our condolences to the family on our behalf.

May I request, Mr President that this Convocation rise and observe a moment of silence in honour of this great son of the soil whose soul has suddenly departed. (A moment of silence). I thank you. May his soul rest in peace!

Mr President, may I now invite you as Grand Master and Patron of National Orders to commence with the Award Ceremony for the Orders of Luthuli, Ikhamanga and the Mendi Decoration.

Issued by The Presidency, 2 December 2003


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