Zuma gets bravery award

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has followed in the footsteps of his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, in being awarded the King Hintsa Bravery Award.

Zuma, flanked by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, landed in a military helicopter and was welcomed by AmaXhosa king Mpedulo Sigcawu, who conferred the award to him.

The president’s supporters, who braved the chilly weather in Willowvale near Dutywa, Eastern Cape, packed an 11-pole-marquee in Nqadu Great Place.

Xhosa Royal Council spokesperson to the king, Prince Xhanti Sigcawu, who was there to welcome Zuma, said the president was a worthy candidate to receive the award.

The awards, named after the great AmaXhosa King Hintsa who died in 1835, started in 1999. Last year, it was received by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Other past recipients include Robort Sobukwe, Steve Biko and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Prince Xhanti said Zuma was chosen because he lived up to the ideals of the late Xhosa king, fighting for human rights and the emancipation of black people.

"When you look at President Zuma, you can see that he represents what King Hintsa fought for. After Hintsa died it was people like Zuma and others who continued with the struggle and ensured the liberation of our people. That is why he is a recipient of this award today," Prince Xhanti said.

ANC supporters wearing Zuma T-shirts ululated as the ANC president made his way to the great place accompanied by a huge contingent of bodyguards.

Dignitaries present included Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet, MEC for Social Development Pemmy Majodina and former president Thabo Mbeki's mother, Epainette Mbeki, who lives nearby.

Also present was former president Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla Mandela.

Nqandu Great Place was abuzz with music and dance as rural women and men on horseback came to witness the special occasion.

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