South African philanthropist Carolyn Steyn receives French knighthood
South African philanthropist and founder of 67 Blankets Carolyn Steyn has been awarded France’s highest order of merit – the Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite.
Carolyn Steyn, founder of 67 Blankets, and HE Aurélien Lechevallier, French Ambassador to South Africa. | Source: Aurélien Lechevallier via Twitter.
The award was presented to Steyn by the French Ambassador to South Africa, HE Aurelien Lechevallier, on behalf of French President Emmanuel Macron at the French Residence in Pretoria last Wednesday.
According to the French Embassy in South Africa, this prize rewards his exceptional contribution to the deepening of cultural ties between France and South Africa.
“Our country, its people, art and music have all been regular themes on her various radio broadcasts, while she has always had a privileged place for discussions with the French diplomatic network,” said the embassy in a statement.
Ambassador Lechevallier commented: “This is a special award, to a very close friend of France. Within seconds of speaking to Carolyn Steyn about France, you can sense her undeniable love and passion for our country and its people. It is a very deep bond that we share.
“Outstanding personality” in the world of philanthropy
Carolyn Steyn is a prominent figure in the worlds of philanthropy, art, music and media in South Africa. With an early career as an actress and decades of experience in the radio world, Carolyn Steyn has become a household name and voice, with a dedication to various cultural or charitable organizations.
After being challenged by Nelson Mandela’s former assistant to knit 67 blankets and distribute them on Nelson Mandela Day, Carolyn Steyn founded the organization 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day in 2013.
This award-winning initiative continues to distribute thousands of blankets to underprivileged populations in South Africa, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She is also a board member of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and is part of the Friends of the French Institute in South Africa.