JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African Prime Minister Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that he was “deeply honoured” to have received the Cecil Rhodes Medal, a symbolic award given to South Africa’s most eminent African.
Zuma, the former President of the country for 30 years, was awarded the award by President Jacob Zampolski in a ceremony in Pretoria.
He thanked Rhodes and said he wanted to extend a “personal and personal gratitude” to him.
He said he believed the award would “make me feel proud”.
The award is presented annually to a South African who has “defended the ideals of our great nation”.
The president, who has not commented publicly on the matter, was the only South African to be awarded the prize in 2016, in the aftermath of the deadly 2014 police attack on protesters in Johannesburg that left more than 100 people dead.
Zampolska, a former military chief, has been widely praised for leading a government that has largely avoided violent protests since the 2013 election.
“We have always said we stand by the values and ideals of South Africa, we have always believed in our democracy, and that we should not be intimidated by the very voices that we have fought to maintain for the past 30 years,” Zampulski said in a statement.
“The South African people deserve to know that we stand with them.”
The South Africa Freedom Party (SAP) has also been one of the leaders of opposition to Zampoli.