South African President Thabo Mbeki awarded Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane the "Order of the Grand Counsellor of the Baobab: Silver" on April 22.
The Baobab order is named for the Baobab tree, which is thought to be the oldest life form in Africa and which has become an emblem of the tropical African landscape. It is among the National Orders, which are the highest awards that South Africa bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.
Ndungane, who retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in December, is president and founder of African Monitor, a continental body that tracks development funding commitments by donors and African governments and investigates how grassroots communities actually benefit from development programs. He is leads the Historic Schools Restoration Project, which seeks to revive historically significant, under-resourced South African schools as centers of cultural and educational excellence.
Mbeki gave the award for the Archbishop's "excellent contribution to the struggle against apartheid and striving for a world free of wars, poverty and inequality".
"I am extremely honored by the President's recognition of the work I have been doing. It is very rewarding and encouraging to be acknowledged in this wonderful way," said Ndungane. "I would like it noted that I have never worked alone, but with the partnership of a number of dedicated organizations and individuals with similar goals to my own. I owe this achievement to their efforts and support."