Prominent South Africans and foreigners, including human rights campaigner and musician Harry Belafonte, had national orders bestowed on them yesterday.
Belafonte was given the Order of the Companion of OR Tambo in Bronze. He is regarded as a friend of South Africa for his contribution to the liberation struggle.
President Thabo Mbeki also bestowed the same order on Linda Biehl, mother of murdered US exchange student Amy, for "displaying an outstanding spirit of forgiveness" in the wake of Amy's killing and "contributing to the promotion of non-racism".
Others who received the awards were Ronald Dellums, Jerry Dunfey and Phillip Potter of the Dominican Republic.
Mbeki also recognised the roles played by South Africans, including Chief Justice Pius Langa, Sydney Kentridge, Cape Town Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, businessman and former Nepad educationist Franklin Sonn, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu and former Commonwealth secretary-general Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
ANC founding member James Calata was also a recipient. Other recipients were Griffith and Victoria Mxenge, Filippus Mminele, Zodwa Mqadi, Rebecca Ntsanwisi, Raymond "Bill" Hoffenberg, Theo Kotze, Ruth Machobane, Himan Bernadt, Jean Bernadt, Bertha Gxowa, Josia Jele, Barbara Masekela, Henrietta Moabi, Billy Modise, Magdalene Resha, Robert Resha, Vesta Smith and Walter Rubusana and George Sewpershad.
Frank Chikane, director-general in the presidency and chancellor of the orders, announced that one of the recipients, Zolile Malindi, a former trade unionist and political activist, died on Monday after a long illness. His daughter received the award on his behalf.