In commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession to the Throne, Her Excellency Adèle Dion, High Commissioner of Canada in South Africa, had the great honour of presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Mr. Mbuso Mandela, who accepted the medal on behalf of his grandfather, former President of South Africa, the Right Honourable Nelson Mandela.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a new commemorative medal created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. It is a tangible way to honour Her Majesty for her service to Canada. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. Mr. Mandela is bestowed this honour as he was appointed honorary Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998.
Universal symbol of the triumph over oppression, Mr. Mandela is a source of inspiration for his peaceful struggle against intolerance and injustice. A dominant figure in the transition from Apartheid to a democratic South Africa, he is recognized as one of the greatest statesmen and humanitarians of the century, universally acknowledged for his dignity, his moral strength and his integrity. The struggle he has led all his life in favour of freedom, justice and equality as well as his advocacy for nonviolence and passive resistance guarantees his presence in the chronicles of history.
Ms. Dion remarked that the values encompassed by Mr. Mandela – reconciliation, forgiveness, compassion - are all values to which Canadians aspire. “Although no title or medal will ever be an important enough recognition of the incredible lessons of wisdom that Madiba has taught Canadians and the world, I am still incredibly honoured to present this medal that Canada has bestowed on him in honour of Her Majesty’s Jubilee. Mr. Mandela is admired by all and Canada is especially proud to count him as one of our honorary citizens,” she said.
The obverse of the medal depicts a crowned image of the Sovereign, in whose name the medal is bestowed. The reverse marks the sixtieth, or diamond, anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The anniversary is expressed by the central diamond shape, by the background composed of a pattern of diamonds, and by the two dates. The Royal Cypher consists of the Royal Crown above the letters EIIR (i.e., Elizabeth II Regina, the latter word meaning Queen in Latin). The maple leaves refer to Canada, while the motto VIVAT REGINA means “Long live The Queen!”
The ribbon uses a new arrangement of the blue, red and white colours found in the 1953 Coronation Medal, the 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal, and the 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal.
The presentation was held at Canada’s Official Residence in Pretoria.