President Zuma honours SU professors
Prof Marlene van Niekerk, award-winning author from Stellenbosch University’s Department of Afrikaans and Dutch and Prof Piet Steyn, a former head of the SU Division of Research Development, both received National Orders from President Jacob Zuma on April 27, Freedom Day.
The National Orders are the highest awards bestowed by the President of the Republic of South Africa upon citizens and members of the international community who have contributed meaningfully in making our country what it is today. The National Orders also seek to enhance social cohesion.
Prof van Niekerk received the Order of Ikhamanga (silver) for her outstanding intellectual contribution to literary arts and culture through poetry, literature and philosophical works, while Prof Steyn was honoured with the Order of Mapungubwe (silver) for his outstanding contribution to the field of chemistry and biosynthesis of mycotoxins which are dangerous substances produced by fungi.
Prof van Niekerk and Prof Steyn formed part of a group of 37 people who received National Orders. Other recipients included Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan – for their contributions to the successful hosting of the Soccer World Cup, the photographer David Goldblatt and marathon runner Josiah Thugwane.
In 2010, Professor Monique Zaahl of the Department of Genetics received the Order of Mapungubwe (bronze) for her outstanding contribution to the field of genetics and her research on diseases associated with iron overload. Also in 2010, Mr Ernst van Dyk, from SUSPI, the University’s sports company, was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (silver), for his outstanding achievements in Paralympic sport and as a role model for all South Africans.