Mlambo-Ngcuka presented with Order of the Rising Sun

15 June 2022

On 10 June 2022, Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to South Africa presented Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Executive Director of UN Women and former Deputy President of South Africa, with Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. Ambassador Maruyama expressed his appreciation for Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka's contribution to the strong partnership between Japan and UN Women.

The Order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment.

Mlambo-Ngcuka worked as the executive director of the UN Women for eight years. She started in 2013 when she forged ties with various Japanese stakeholders through her participation in WAW (World Assembly for Women) as well as through private sector engagement. Under her leadership, UN Women opened the Tokyo liaison office, the first liaison office in Asia, which has played a significant role in increasing the visibility of UN Women, as well as in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in Japan.

UN Women also launched the 'HeForShe' initiative, which promotes the involvement of men and boys in the pursuit of gender equality.

She officially left UN Women in August 2021 after serving two terms. Throughout her career, Mlambo-Ngcuka directed her energy towards issues of human rights, gender and youth development, equality and social justice. She served as South Africa’s Deputy President under Thabo Mbeki from 2005 until Mbeki resigned in 2008.

Embassy of Japan in South Africa and TDS