South Africans and foreign nationals that have made outstanding contribution to the country in various fields are currently being honoured in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma is bestowing the luminaries with National Orders in various categories at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential guest house in Pretoria.
Zuma says it takes ordinary men and women to make the country and the world a better place.
He is bestowing the luminaries with National Orders in the six categories of the Mendi For Bravery , Ikamanga, Baobab, Luthuli, Mapungubwe and the Companions of OR Tambo.
Each of the categories denote excellence in various fields.
The Order of Luthuli is one which has amongst its recipients two well celebrated South African’s struggle stalwarts Winnie Madikizela Mandela and former Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.
The Order recognises the contribution of individuals in the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.
Recognised most highly in the gold category of this award is the late Cleopas Madoda Nsibande a founding member of the South African Congress of Trade Union, one-time close confident of long-serving ANC President OR Tambo ad 1956 Treason trialist.
Of the 10 awards for the Order of Mendi for acts of bravery, nine are posthumous.
The only living recipient is Major General Jackie Sedibe one of the earliest and few female recruits of the African National Congress’s military wing Mkonto weSizwe.
Sedibe was trained in Moscow in the then USSR and operated within the frontline states including Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
One cannot reflect on her life without thinking about high levels of commitment in whatever task that she was given inside and outside government
Having retired from the South African National Defence Force, she continues to be a fierce champion of women in the military.
Xitsonga music legend Thomas Chauke, who will be among the citizens that Zuma will honour during the National Orders Awards says he is humbled.
President Zuma will bestow the Order of Ikhamanga in silver to Chauke.
The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South Africans who have excelled in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
Chauke has over the past 40 years elevated the status of XiTsonga music to the international stage. He says he appreciates the recognition.
”I feel great, I am so happy I didn’t know that one day, I am going to stand in front of the President and receive an award from the office of the president, so I am very happy to be honoured by South Africa, it’s so great.”
The late former Communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburi is one of those who will be honoured.
Communications Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says she is remembered for her good leadership qualities. “One cannot reflect on her life without thinking about high levels of commitment in whatever task that she was given inside and outside government especially within the ANC and also the kind of leadership that she would provide, decisiveness, focus, visionary, is life worth reflecting upon as we celebrate the 22 years of our freedom.”