|INAUGURAL UBUNTU AWARDS CELEBRATE EXCELLENCE IN DEMOCRACY
|On Saturday, 14 February, DIRCO hosted the inaugural Ubuntu Awards ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre to recognise South African industry leaders and eminent persons for their contribution to promoting South Africa’s national interests and values across the world.
Delivering his keynote address to the more than 600 people in attendance, President Jacob Zuma said government and its diplomats could not work alone. He said all sectors of society were needed to build relations and promote friendships with the world.
The President said over the past 20 years, South Africa had increased its diplomatic presence abroad from 36 foreign missions in 1994 to 126 in 2015. About 30% of these are women representatives.
President Zuma also commended the private sector for increasing trade ties with other countries.
“In particular this evening, we congratulate the business community for promoting the South African Brand. South African business, particularly retail and construction, is spreading at a very great pace on the continent."
Several individuals and organisations were honoured for their contribution to enhancing Brand South Africa locally and abroad.
The President said their contributions were well deserved.
“It is [fitting] that we applaud the successes of distinguished men and women in enhancing and promoting the image of South Africa abroad.
“These are men and women who have walked in the footsteps of eminent leaders like Oliver Tambo, Moses Kotane, Johnny Makatini, JB Marks and many others who represented the liberation movement abroad very well during the apartheid times.”
The evening’s biggest award, the Ubuntu Lifetime Achiever Award, went to South Africa’s first High Commissioner to Canada, Billy Modise (84). Modise played a crucial role in mobilising the international community against apartheid, as well as the boycott of South African products, while he was in exile.
Also a recipient of the same award was 90-year-old Ruth Mompati, one of the women who led the historic 1956 Women’s March. She dedicated the award to all the women who were involved in the march and in the Defiance Campaign in the 1950s.
Other recipients of the night included celebrated singers Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Yvonne “Princess of Africa” Chaka-Chaka, who received the Ubuntu Cultural Diplomacy Award.
Gift of the Givers founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, received the Social Responsibility Award.
Swimming gold medalist Chad le Clos received the Ubuntu Sport Diplomacy Award, while the Youth Diplomacy Award went to 24-year-old engineer Lumka Msibi, who recently won a top international award for her technical paper that focused on a space education and outreach symposium.
SAB Miller and Nando’s received the Global Economic Diplomacy Award for leaving a footprint in the global market, while MTN was honoured with the Africa Economic Diplomacy Award.
The event was attended by, among others, ministers, premiers, deputy ministers, members of the Diplomatic Corps, captains of business and industry and various high-ranking personalities.