The chairman of BDS South Africa’s board will receive the Order of Luthuli (Silver) from President Cyril Ramaphosa for “his brilliant contribution to academic research and to the fight against race, gender, class and religious oppression”.
Professor Farid Esack will receive the award on 28 April at the 24th Investiture ceremony in the capital Pretoria.
In a statement released to announce the names of those who will receive honours this year, the Chancellor of National Orders, Dr Cassius Lubisi, said that the orders “are the highest awards that our country bestows on our citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have made a meaningful and significant contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, and peace and conflict resolution.”
Esack is a South African Muslim scholar, writer, and political activist known for his opposition to apartheid, his appointment by Nelson Mandela as a gender equity commissioner, and his work for inter-religious dialogue.
He has dedicated the award to his late mother and to the brave Palestinians who, on a daily basis resist the theft and illegal occupation of their land with unspeakable courage.
“Our generation who resisted and overcame Apartheid with the support of activists throughout the world,” Esack said, “have no option but to live out our debt to the international working class and oppressed communities throughout the world, from Black Lives in the USA, to Kashmir, to the Dalits in India, to the people of Cuba, the Christians in Muslim majority countries, and the Palestinians living under the yoke of Israeli Apartheid.”
Our humanity is measured by our refusal to surrender and our willingness to be combatants in the world for greater justice and equality.