From Kojo Yankah, GNA Special Correspondent, Johannesburg
Johannesburg, April 22, GNA - Former South African President, Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was on Thursday awarded the royal traditional title of "Okofo" (Warrior) in recognition of his lifelong struggle for freedom, justice and peace by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at a ceremony at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
The award, which went with a rich Kente cloth and sandals and a framed citation, was conferred on Okofo Mandela when Otumfuo and his delegation paid a courtesy call on the Former President as part of Asantehene's 10-day goodwill visit to South Africa.
The citation accompanying the honour, referred to the 'royal' background of Mandela, and the traditional training he received at the hands of his uncles, which accounted for his qualities of 'humility, modesty, and fortitude.
"Your resistant spirit, unparalleled in contemporary history, led you to fight vigorously against the evil apartheid system', the citation said.
The citation said Okofo Mandela consistently refused to compromise his mission to obtain freedom and even after his release from prison continued the your struggle to ensure that there was justice and equal rights for all.
"Your international stature as a symbol of resistance has never been equalled. And coming from the resistance tradition of the Asante people of Ghana; I, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, the 16th King of the Asante people of Ghana, on behalf of the Asanteman Council and my people, confer on you the royal title of OKOFO, meaning Warrior, to signify our recognition of your lifelong struggle for freedom, justice and peace", the citation said.
Okofo Mandela, visibly moved by the gesture, expressed deep appreciation for the honour.
Earlier, the Former President shared his memories of Ghana's contribution to the liberation struggle with Otumfuo the Asantehene and applauded Ghana's march along the path of democracy.
Among Otumfuo's delegation were Nana Otuo Siriboe, Juabenhene, Nana Susubribi Krobea Asante, Asokorehene and Ghana's High Commissioner in South Africa, Mrs Ellen Nee-Whang.