May 2023 2nd edition

National Orders Recipients

National Orders are the highest awards that a country through its President, bestows on citizens and emminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and have put themselves at the service of the country and its people.


The Order of Mendi 

The Order of Mendi for Bravery recognises South African citizens who have performed acts of bravery. This order was awarded to:

  • Denver Kok (in silver, posthumous): For his selfless and heroic act in saving the lives of commuters in  danger. He paid the ultimate price to ensure the survival of other people.
  • Sister Mary Anne Thôle (in silver, posthumous): For her selfless act to save others that led to her losing her life. 
  • Kgomotso Thomas (in silver, posthumous): For his heroic rescue of two young people from drowning and in the process lost his life.

The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo

The Order of Companions of OR Tambo gives recognition to foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa and is therefore an Order of peace, cooperation and an active expression of solidarity and support. The honourees were:

  • From the United States of America, Tracy Chapman (in silver): For her contribution to the fight for freedom by participating in efforts to free Nelson Mandela and raising awareness of human rights violations globally.
  • The United Kingdom’s Christabel Gurney (in silver): For providing steadfast support and friendship to freedom fighters by mobilising international communities and raising awareness of human rights violations globally.
  • New Zealand’s Thomas Oliver Newnham (in silver, posthumous): He was instrumental in shaming apartheid South Africa, and stopping rugby tours between South Africa and New Zealand.
  • Jamaican Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) (in sliver, posthumous): For his contribution to the liberation struggle using his musical talent to advance the struggle for liberation.
  • Germany’s Ruth Weiss (in silver): For her contribution to the liberation struggle. Her prolific writing shone the light on injustices in South Africa. 

The Order of Baobab 

The recipients for the Order of Baobab are those who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation. The following South Africans received this order:

  • Dr Jiyana Mbere (in gold): For his work in the medical field and ensuring the equal distribution of medical attention to all people, especially the previously disfranchised.
  • Professor Ephraim Thibedi Mokgokong (in gold): For his excellent dedication in providing gynaecological services to disadvantaged women in rural areas.
  • Simon Deliweyo Ngcobo (in gold Posthumous): For his contribution to education by resuscitating a historical school and turning it into an institution that groomed many young people who became leaders in South Africa.
  • Dr Solomon Boyce Isaac Lefakane (in silver): For his pioneering contribution in the field of civil engineering.
  • Phuti Ragophala (in silver): For her contribution in the field of education and demonstrating the need to promote technological awareness teachers and students.
  • Cornelius Ruald Strydom (in silver): For his outstanding role as a global philanthropist.

The Order of Mapungubwe

The Order of Mapungubwa recognises South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement to the benefit of South Africa and beyond. The following were recognised:

  • Dr Aboubaker Ebrahim Dangor (in bronze): For his admirable and distinguished contribution to the field of science through his ground-breaking research in physics.
  • Dr Vhahangwele Masindi (in bronze): For his contribution to environmental sciences his work seeks to find solutions to the challenges of water scarcity in South Africa.

The Order of Luthuli

The recipients for the Order of Luthuli recognises South Africans who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, nation-building, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace as well as for the resolution of conflict. The receipients were:

  • Ethel de Keyser (in gold, posthumous): For her astounding contribution to the struggle for liberation. Her fundraising for scholarships for freedom fighters and their children’s education kept up the morale of freedom fighters in exile.
  • Ismail Ebrahim Ebrahim (in gold, posthumous): For his lifelong commitment to the liberation of all South Africans. 
  • Molly Bellhouse Blackburn (in silver, posthumous): For her contribution to the fight for liberation in South Africa, often risking her life for firmly upholding the liberation cause and ideals to the end.
  • Moki Jacob Bonisile Cekisani (in silver): For making a significant difference in society by providing a bridge between the struggle for liberation and post-apartheid community development.National Order

The Order of Ikhamanga

The recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga are those who have excelled in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. The recipients of this order were:

  • Mono Arthur Sipho Badela (in gold): For his excellent contribution in the field of journalism and mobilising the masses against oppression.
  • Desiree Ellis (in gold): For her excellent contribution to football, a male-dominated sport. Her sustained excellence provides encouragement to women to excel in their respective fields of endeavour. 
  • Siyamthanda ‘Siya’ Kolisi (in gold): For his inspirational leadership and contribution to rugby. He is a trailblazer in democratic South Africa by being the first black person to captain the Springboks to World Cup glory.
  • Solomon Popoli Linda (in gold, posthumous): For his contribution in the field of arts as a musician and composer. 
  • Bokwe James Mafuna (in gold): For his excellent contribution to journalism and political activism. His work is a perfect example of the intersection between journalism and scholarship on the liberation struggle.
  • Bongiwe Dhlomo-Mautloa (in silver): For her contribution to the field of arts by curating creative projects that preserve significant periods in South African history.
  • Keith Adrian Gottschalk (in silver): For using his creativity to draw critical attention to oppressive and unjust laws through performative political poetry. His work provided strength and motivated many people to fight for liberation.
  • Mthuthuzeli Ben Nomoyi (in silver, posthumous): For his sterling work in the television and film industry in South Africa. 
  • Mfundi Vundla (in silver): For his sterling work in the television and film industry in South Africa. 
  • John Arthur Black and Warren Neil Eva are the first South Africans to stand on the summit of K2 in Pakistan. They made history and placed the South African flag on top of the world’s second highest mountain after Mount Everest.
  • Dr Matodzi Irene Mawela (in bronze): For her outstanding contribution to the performing arts.

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