Lead SA and Crime Line have welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor of Orders that President Jacob Zuma will bestow the Order of the Baobab on activist, Yusuf Abramjee, for his “excellent contribution in community development through Lead SA”.
The award is a National Order – the highest accolade that a country can bestow on a citizen or prominent foreigners.
The Order of the Baobab serves to represent “exceptional contribution, and is awarded to South African citizens for distinguished service that goes beyond the call of duty”.
The order takes its name from the baobab tree, which was chosen as a symbol because of its “endurance and tolerance, its vitality, its importance in agro-forestry systems, and its use as a meeting place in traditional African societies.”
Abramjee said he was “honoured and humbled” to be receiving the Order of Baobab, Silver.
“To be a recipient of a National Order is an overwhelming privilege and I wish to thank those who nominated me, and President Jacob Zuma and the government for bestowing this honour.
“It’s truly a blessing to be in a position to serve my country and its people. I am exceptionally proud of what we have achieved through Lead SA and Crime Line, especially the extraordinary citizens from all walks of life that it has revealed to us. This Order is a tribute to you all,” said Abramjee.
“Serving the community should become the rule, rather than the exception,” he said.
The previous recipients of the Order of the Baobab include, the late former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Arthur Chaskalson; prominent academic, Barney Pityana and renowned Venda artist, Noria Mabasa.
Lead SA founder and Primedia Broadcasting CEO, Terry Volkwyn said that she was proud of Abramjee’s accomplishment, describing him as a “true servant of the public”.
“Lead SA congratulates Yusuf on this well deserved award. His passion, drive, patriotism and commitment are integral to what we hope to achieve through Lead SA and he has been part of this vision since we launched in August 2010.
“Yusuf’s activism has always been part of his public and private life. He continues to be a pillar in his own community, while striving to find ways to encourage and motivate others through his example of active citizenship. We are truly happy that his contribution is being recognised by the highest power in the land,” Volkwyn added.
Primedia CEO, Kuben Pillay, said that the Group was “privileged and thrilled” to have Abramjee honoured by his country with the Order of the Baobab, Silver.
“Yusuf is clearly what our elder leader, Nelson Mandela, had in mind when he said, ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the lives of others.’ Congratulations to Yusuf, the teams that support him, and the hundreds of ordinary South Africans who have heeded our call to action, in support of our democracy,” said Pillay.
Abramjee was closely involved in the conceptualisation and launch of Lead SA in 2010 – a Primedia Broadcasting and Independent Group of Newspapers initiative. The initiative is a call to action on South Africans to become active citizens and “Stand Up, Do the Right Thing and Make a Difference.”
Abramjee is also the founder of the anonymous crime tip-off service, Crime Line, which was launched in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in 2007. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his contribution to the fight against crime. He was re-elected to serve as chairman of the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) last month and serves as second vice-president of Crime Stoppers International (CSI).
Abramjee is a born newshound, starting his career as a freelance reporter at Talk Radio 702 ahead of the first democratic elections in 1994. He fulfilled many roles at Talk Radio 702 over the years, including station manager. He is head of news and current affairs at Primedia Broadcasting.
Abramjee served as Chairperson of the National Press Club for several years.
He is also a member of the South African National Aids Council Trust (SANAC) and is a social cohesion ambassador.
Abramjee has over the years combined his journalistic skills and activism to expose a number of wrongdoings and taking action to hold those responsible accountable.
“Yusuf is a doer. You know that when he throws his weight behind a cause that you will see results. As Crime Line we are exceptionally proud of this accomplishment and appreciate the recognition from the top for his contribution,” said Crime Line.
Crime Line added that “we have a great leader in Yusuf. He has taken Crime Line to great heights over the years. It’s a privilege to have a leader that works shoulder to shoulder with his team. Congratulations Yusuf!”
Abramjee has received numerous awards for his contribution to community service, including the Security Association of South Africa’s “Security Personality of the Year”, “Leadership and Communicator of the Year” from Pretoria Toastmasters, a Turquoise Harmony Institute “Community Service” award and FM Adfocus “Newsmaker of the Year”.
Volkwyn said that Lead SA was about nurturing a culture of active citizenship in the country. She praised The Presidency for the National Orders initiative that serves to recognise individuals who strive to make a difference in South Africa.
“Lead SA believes the Order of the Baobab was bestowed on a worthy recipient. We also congratulate all the other recipients of national orders. As we celebrate Freedom Month, we believe these recognitions from the highest office of the land pay tribute to the extraordinary individuals who serve with dedication and zeal,” Volkwyn added.
For more information on the National Orders, visit http://www.info.gov.za/aboutgovt/orders/.