National Order for South African writer Muthal Naidoo

Pretoria: Veteran actress, playwright and writer Muthal Naidoo was the sole Indian-origin South African to receive a National Order from President Jacob Zuma here on Friday evening.

Zuma honoured men and women, who have made great contributions to South Africa`s democracy, by bestowing National Orders on them since 2010 at a ceremony at the Presidential Guesthouse on the annual Freedom Day public holiday.

National Orders are awarded to deserving citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed meaningfully towards making the country a free, democratic and successful nation, united in its diversity.

Naidoo, 76, received the Order of Ikhamanga, joining several other local and international recipients of the orders made in several categories.

Naidoo was an actress and playwright in the alternative theatre movement which spoke out against apartheid and has also written extensively on a wide range of subjects from democracy and international conflict to the rituals of the Tamil community in South Africa.

"The story of our journey from an apartheid South Africa, to a free, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa is what we are celebrating today. Whenever we celebrate Freedom Day we are reminded about such instances of injustice, and our historical past - that not so long ago we had no freedom, no peace and no justice to celebrate," Zuma said.

The Order of Companions of OR Tambo, previously also given to Mahatma Gandhi, American politician Edward Kennedy.