Advocate Thuli Madonsela and South Africa’s former public protector has received knighthood from French President Emmanuel Macron. The Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (French Legion of Honour) in the category of Chevalier (Knight), has been reportedly awarded to her for “achievements in the defence of the rule of law” and the “fight against corruption in South Africa.”
Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the French Legion of Honour is regarded as the highest decoration in France with several categories aside from knighthood including: Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer), and Grand-Croix (Grand Cross), according to TimesLIVE.
Madonsela, who served as Public Protector for seven years and named TIME magazine’s 100’s most influential people in the world (2014), was responsible for exposing the rampant corruption during former President Jacob Zuma‘s term during 2009 and 2018. Perhaps the most earth-shattering of her findings was the irregular spending of approximately 250 million Rand (16.6 million USD) into Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
Previous recipients of the knighthood include the late author and activist Nadine Gordimer, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late “Mama Africa”, Miriam Makeba. Back in 2019, South African opera singer, Pretty Yende, was awarded the Ordine Stella d’Italia or The Order/Knight of the Star of Italy by the Italian Consul’s Emanuele Pollio for her “work in building extraordinary relations between Italy and other countries.”