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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Professor Thuli Madonsela Receives French Knighthood From French President Emmanuel Macron

PROFESSOR Thuli Madonsela, Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Law, has been appointed as Knight of the Legion of Honour, by French President Emmanuel Macron, the university said in a statement on Thursday.

The French Legion of Honour celebrates the accomplishments of distinguished individuals, irrespective of social background or nationality.

“I can’t find the right words to express the depth of my gratitude to the President and people of France for this immense honour. As indicated in respect of previous awards, I do my work to add value to humanity out of love and gratitude for the privileges life and humanity have given me and in pursuit of my duties,” said Madonsela.

“However, a recognition of this magnitude does inspire immense gratitude while spotlighting my work on social justice, the rule of law and ethical governance. I believe it comes from a place of appreciating our interconnectedness as humanity though separated by oceans and borders.”

Viewed as the highest decoration in France, it was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.  

Former President Nelson Mandela is a Grand-Croix recipient – in 1994.

Previous South African recipients of the degree Chevalier (Knight) include Nadine Gordimer, Ahmed Kathrada, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mamphela Ramphele, Miriam Makeba, André P. Brink and Zanele Muholi.

One of the knighthoods famous recipients is soccer legend and Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane.

The title to Madonsela was conferred by Macron on 20 November 2020.

The official ceremony to bestow the insignia on Madonsela will take place as soon as the COVID-19 situation eases significantly on a date to be mutually agreed between the French Ambassador to South Africa, Aurelien Lechevallier and Madonsela.  

University of Stellenbosch said in a statement that an announcement to this effect will be made as soon as the date is set.

Madonsela added that she accepted the honour on behalf of the Public Protector Team that worked with her in the pursuit of ethical and accountable government for seven years.

“I also accept the award on behalf of my colleagues at Stellenbosch University with whom we are pioneering research, policy reform and civic mobilisation on social justice with the hope of catalysing progress towards ending poverty and reducing structural inequality by 2030 in line with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Madonsela.

“I also accept it on behalf of my Thuma Foundation colleagues, who are mostly volunteers dedicating their time and resources towards making democracy work for all through democracy leadership and literacy.”

In his letter to Madonsela, Ambassador Lechevallier said that Madonsela is honoured in recognition of her remarkable achievements in defence of the rule of law and the fight against corruption in South Africa.


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