News article

20 Years of Freedom - Britons receive South African National Awards

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Lord Richard Attenborough, Director of Cry Freedom, Lord Neil Kinnock and music promoter Jerry Dammers writer of song “Free Nelson Mandela”.

As part of Freedom Day and celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa, President Zuma awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo to members of the international community for promoting peace, co-operation and friendship towards South Africa and her people. This award recognises men and women from around the world who contributed to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Those who received this highest order included musicians, film directors and actors who used their craft to promote justice, freedom and human dignity. The Britons that received this award were Lord Richard Attenborough, Director of Cry Freedom, the story of Steve Biko, Lord Neil Kinnock and music promoter Jerry Dammers who wrote the iconic song “Free Nelson Mandela”.

Michael Attenborough received the award on behalf of his father Lord Attenborough and said his father was “delighted and honoured” to have received the award for his work to help bring freedom and democracy to South Africa. Similarly, Jerry Dammers commented that he felt humbled by the award. Mr Dammers said that “it was a fantastic honour to be remembered in South Africa and his contribution was nothing compared to the sacrifices the people in South Africa made to fight apartheid.”

Under the theme of 20 years of freedom, the National Orders ceremony was followed by the simultaneous premiere screenings in Pretoria and London of “One Humanity”, a documentary produced by British filmmaker Tony Hollingsworth. The film tells the story of the two Wembley stadium concerts in name of Nelson Mandela in 1988 (while he was still in prison on Robben Island) and 1990 (when he had just been released) when the world came to focus on a single cause – the end of the Apartheid regime.

British High Commissioner Judith Macgregor, who attended the Freedom Day celebrations, National Orders ceremony and the One Humanity screening in Pretoria said she was “honoured to be able to be able to celebrate 20 years of democracy with the people of South Africa”. She added that the “congratulatory messages from HM The Queen, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to mark Freedom Day was a demonstration of the warmth and affection that Britain had for South Africa”.