The honour is awarded to eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa
The late former President Sir Quett Ketumile Joni Masire will be among the recipients of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo (Gold) to be awarded by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on 28th April.
Masire died last year at the age of 91, he served as President of Botswana from 1980-1998. He was regarded as one of the instrumental figures in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. South Africa’s High Commission to Botswana Mdu Lembede was quoted in the media after his death in saying Masire and Botswana provided revenge for Southern African countries during their battle with apartheid.
“He did not only do it for South Africans. It’s on the record that he did it for the region. I mean all the leaders from countries around the region, at one stage or the other, they went through Botswana, whether it Sam Nojuma from Namibia, Robert Mugabe, Samora Machel in Mozambique, they all came here.
“And they were taken care of, and he was the person in the forefront, and he was seeing to it that people are safe,” Lembede was quoted as saying.
A statement released by the Chancellor of the national orders Dr Cassius Lubisi last week revealed that Masire will be honoured posthumously as a result of his contribution to the struggle for peace and liberation of the Southern African region.
The statement reads, “For his exceptional contribution to the struggle for peace and liberation in South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda and the Southern African region. He worked tirelessly in ensuring that Africans are liberated from oppression and colonial rule,” says the release.
Masire will be honoured in the same category with former Namibian president Sam Nujoma, who is also said to have been a pillar in opposing the then apartheid government of South Africa. Mozambique’s second President Joaquim Chissano is another recipient of the same award for his role in transforming his country into a thriving democracy. The last former head of state that will be given the similar honour is former Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Dr Luisi’s statement explains that Sirleaf will be honoured for her exceptional contribution to women’s leadership in the African continent. She tenaciously contained conflicts in a volatile region while ensuring recovery and development of newly founded democracies in Africa.
The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo is awarded in to eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore concerned primarily with matters of peace, cooperation, international solidarity and support and is integral to the execution of South Africa’s international and multilateral relations.