Mbombela – Mpumalanga Culture, Sport and Recreation MEC Sibongile Manana has congratulated the three local citizens who were bestowed with the Order of the Ikhamanga on Freedom Day.
The National Orders are the highest awards bestowed by the President of South Africa upon citizens and members of the international community who have contributed meaningfully to South Africa’s development.
“I congratulate Samuel Sam Nzima, Josiah Thugwane and Ray Chikapa Phiri for playing an important role in shaping the new South Africa,” said Manana on Thursday. “They have also blessed us with their talents. We take immense pride in the honouring of Messrs Nzima, Thugwane and Phiri. It shows that indeed Mpumalanga is the land of pioneers, path-finders and activists.”
Nzima, who is a self-taught photo-journalist, took the now famous picture of an injured Hector Pietersen during the Soweto uprising in 1976, which put the brutality of the apartheid police in the international spotlight.
He was bestowed with a bronze Order of Ikhamanga for his excellent contribution in photo-journalism.
Manana labelled Thugwane, shot to fame when he won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, as a hero to many South Africans, “who rejoiced at his and the country’s finest hour in road running”.
Thugwane was bestowed with a silver Order of Ikhamanga for his excellent achievement during the Atlanta Olympic Games and his contribution in athletics.
Phiri was bestowed with a silver Order of Ikhamanga for his excellent achievement in music and contribution to the struggle against apartheid.
“No musician has touched the national conscience as a lyricist, singer and entertainer as Phiri. He found making music as easy as walking and his music has a strong social message and in yesteryear caused the apartheid walls to crumble. We trust the latest developments will encourage each one of us to excel in whatever good we are doing in order to make Mpumalanga and South Africa a better place to live in for all,” said Manana. – Eric Mashaba, BuaNews