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Heroic young boy to receive a National Order

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Grade 4 pupil Thapelo Tambani, who risked his own life to save a friend, will this year be conferred with the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tambani last year drowned in mud in the Soshanguve township in Pretoria.

According to media reports, Tambani’s friend had fallen into a hole, which had been filled with rain, at an excavation site and the 10-year-old hero followed after him.

Media reports at the time said Tambani managed to save his friend’s life but drowned in the mud.

Tambani is among the luminaries and struggle heroes who will be  conferred the National Order

Announcing the people who will be conferred with the awards the chairperson of the National Orders Advisory Council Dr Cassius Lubisi said the National Orders were conferred on South Africans and foreign nationals who had played a major role in the development of the country.

“National Orders are the highest awards that our country, through the President, bestows on our citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

“The National Orders also recognise the contributions made by individuals who contributed and continue to contribute to the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in our Constitution,” he said.

Two-time President of Madagascar Didier Ratsiraka will also be bestowed with the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in Gold. The order “recognises eminent foreign nationals and other foreign dignitaries for friendship shown to South Africa,” said Lubisi.

Ratsiraka was awarded for helping the liberation movements in their fight against apartheid.

“He offered the liberation movement a national and international platform through his country's National Television and Radio Station to operate Radio Freedom in the battle of ideas between apartheid propaganda and non-racial democratic values,” said Dr Lubisi.

Other luminaries that will be conferred include former Proteas and Cape Cobras cricketer Jacques Kallis who is considered one of the greatest all-rounders of the game.

Also receiving the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver along with Kallis is veteran musician Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, actresses Nomhle Nkonyeni and Mary Twala as well as journalist Mathata Tsedu, author Achmat Davids (posthumously), journalist Benjamin Pogrund and in Gold to retired dancer Johaar Mosaval.

The late Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa will posthumously be conferred the Order of Mapungubwe in Gold  in recognition of the late minister’s “exceptional contribution to the fight to save our planet.”

The national orders will be bestowed upon the recipients by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 25 April.