President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed this year’s recipients of the National Orders – the highest awards this country bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals – as champions of life time achievements.The president was speaking at a glittering award ceremony to honour citizens and foreign nationals at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in the administrative capital Pretoria on Thursday evening.
He conferred the Orders of Mendi for Bravery; Ikhamanga; Baobab; Luthuli; and Companions of OR Tambo during the occasion.
Ramaphosa said that recipients of the National Orders were honoured because they upheld the values which combined to represent the highest ideals of humanity and society.
He described the recipients as champions of freedom, peace, human rights, social justice and equality who deserved to be honoured in recognition of their life achievements.
“Through these national orders, we recognise many outstanding individuals who defied great odds and made immense sacrifices, not only for us to attain freedom, but so that such freedom is meaningful,” he said.
Among those honoured at the ceremony was agriculturalist Hlamalani Judith Ngwenya who received her Order of Baobab in Bronze award for her contribution to capacity-building, sustainable agriculture and the empowerment of communities all over the world.
Gospel singer Rebecca Malope received the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for her distinguished contribution to South African music – with “her unique voice bringing joy and comfort to many through meaningful gospel music.”
Britain’s Anthony Dykes was awarded the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo for his lifelong commitment to the development of South Africa.
“I see Tambo as the inspiration behind South Africa’s constitution, and his values will resonate through the years. And to receive an award named after him, for me, it’s the greatest honour of my life,” Dykes said.