Freinkel Awarded the Order of the Baobab by South Africa President, Thabo
Day, June 16th, 2004
The Order of the Baobab is awarded to South
African citizens for distinguished service in the fields of business and
the economy, science, medicine, and for technological innovation and community
- The Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab in
gold is awarded for exceptional service.
- The Grand Counsellor of the Baobab in
silver is awarded for excellent service.
- The Counsellor of the Baobab in bronze
is awarded for outstanding service.
Four people were awarded the Order of the Baobab
- Mirriam Cele for community-building
- Edna Freinkel for lifelong dedication
to the development of specialised learning methods for the learning
impaired in South Africa
- Mpho Sebanyoni-Mothlasedi for community
- Prince Cabangukuhle Penuel Zulu for
lifetime dedication to the fight against discrimination
About the Order of the Baobab
To quote directly from the book for the AWARDS
CEREMONY FOR NATIONAL ORDERS:
of the Baobab takes its inspiration from what is seen by some to
be the oldest life form in Africa, the Baobab tree, whose endemic distribution
and peculiar appearance and features have made it emblematic of the
tropical African landscape. Its sparse branch and leaf system (relative
to its massively wide trunk) gives the Baobab (or Adonsonia Digitata)
the appearance, when viewed from distance, of being permanently uprooted.
In closer proximity, the Baobab with its colossal wide trunk - sometimes
exceeding a diameter of five metres - supported by the broad and strong
protruding root system supporting it, has the effect of suggesting a
gigantic refuge from the sun or rain. Indeed, in traditional African
societies, it is often the place for meetings, shelter and rest.
While the origin of its name is lost in the many rich legends and myths
of Africa, the Baobab is probably the most described tree on the continent.
The oldest living Baobab is estimated to be more than 3,000 years old.
The Baobab is well known for its magical powers and symbolic value to
many indigenous Africa people, as well as its functional usefulness.
The Baobab bark is used to make mats, hats, cloth and rope; its fruits
are eaten and its wood burnt as fuel.
The age and utility of this tree suggest endurance, wisdom, endowment
and bounty. It perfectly symbolises the sustained and exceptional service
to South Africa that is recognised by the award of the Order of the
Baobab, as well as the enduring and growing status of South Africans
resulting from service thus rendered.
central motif (1) of the order is the image of the Baobab tree enclosed
in a nine-sided polygon (2), which symbolizes the nine provinces of
our country as well as the many different areas of possible contribution
and service to the nation. The exterior shape and texture are reminiscent
of the bark on the trunk of the Baobab tree (3).
Recipients of the order are entitled to indicate that they have been
invested with the relevant category of the order by the use of the following
SCOB: Supreme Counsellor of the Baobab (Gold)
GCOB: Grand Counsellor of the Baobab (Silver)
COB : Counsellor of the Baobab (Bronze)
Of course nothing could have been achieved without
my beloved Lionel who has unfailingly given me moral and financial
support for our whole married life. Often I have wanted to give up and
he would encourage me to go on. A few months ago when I apologised to
him for worrying him so much about the constant digging into his pension
to keep the Trust going he said simply, "You have a dream and I want
to help you fulfil it."
When President Mbeki stood and chatted to me while the citation was read
by the Chancellor of National Orders, Rev Frank Chikane, he said he was
proud of me and thanked me for what I am doing for South Africa. I told
him I was accepting it in memory of my mother, Rebecca Ostrowiak,
whose work it all is.