Jacob Zuma receives award from Cuba
Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Monday received Cuba's highest award, the Presidency said on Tuesday.
"I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of the people of South Africa whose ties to Cuba remain unbreakable because it was forged in the long and bitter struggle against apartheid," Zuma said in his address.
The award, bearing the name of Cuba's national hero Jose Marti, was presented to him by its President Raul Castro Ruz.
Marti devoted his life to ending colonial rule in Cuba and his writings inspired many movements fighting for national liberation.
Zuma said it also inspired the African National Congress.
"Mart may never have lived to see an independent Cuba but his greatest accomplishment was the way he managed to unite Cuban freedom fighters in exile and on the island," said Zuma.
Marti continued to be an inspiration ensuring that relations between Cuba and South Africa grow deeper, he said.
"It is that friendship and solidarity that drives our relations to this day".
Zuma noted that South Africa and Cuba shared similar socio-economic interests and had a long-standing co-operation.
"Cuba occupies a prominent place in the history of the struggle for, and the achievement of, freedom on the African continent.
"Cuba also continues to play an exemplary role in promoting international solidarity as well as progress in the areas of education, health and other scientific areas.
"Thank you again Mr President for the invitation to visit Cuba and for honouring me and the people of South Africa with this award," said Zuma.