KZN icons to be honoured by Presidency

2008-10-21 00:00

Cape Town — KwaZulu-Natal playwright Ronnie Govender is among a group of South Africans nominated for National Order Awards, for his contribution to democracy and justice through the medium of theatre.

Govender joins the world-famous male choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, singer Sibongile Khumalo, poet and political activist Keorapetse Kgositsile, and acclaimed authors Doris Lessing and Lewis Nkosi on the list of nominees.

The award is the highest honour citizens and eminent foreign nationals can receive in recognition of their contributions to nation-building.

President Kgalema Motlanthe will bestow the National Orders at the Union Buildings next Tuesday.

Also nominated are Bryan Habana and Percy Montgomery for their achievements in rugby.

Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock are nominated for their cricketing achievements and for serving as an inspiration to up-and-coming black South African cricketers.

Stanley Sono is nominated for his achievements in football and boxing and for contributing to the development of boxing administration and refereeing.

Legendary Patrick “Ace” Ntsoelangoe will receive the award posthumously for his achievements in football locally and abroad and for contributing to the development of the game in South Africa.

In a press statement yesterday, the presidency said Govender will receive the Order of Ikhamanga, in the silver category.

Govender, who was born in Cato Manor in 1934, received the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for his collection of stories, At the Edge and Other Cato Manor Stories. He has also written 13 plays.

A playwright who is deeply rooted and in touch with his community, he founded the Shah Theatre Academy to foster indigenous theatre.

Kgositsile will also receive the Order of Ikhamanga.

He became a political activist and prominent ANC member as well as a poet.

He became a key figure among African-American poets in the 1970s and played a major role in bridging the gap between African poetry and black poetry in the United States.

Kgositsile was inaugurated as South Africa’s Poet Laureate in 2006.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who have also been nominated for the Order of Ikhamanga, became world famous when they sang with Paul Simon on his album, Graceland.

Formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960, the group is now a mobile academy that teaches people about South African culture.

Khumalo is an award-winning performer who has enchanted international audiences with traditional South African melodies and classical choral works alike.

She has performed with many celebrated groups and artists and sung at many occasions, among them Nelson Mandela’s 75th birthday and inauguration in 1994. She also led the singing of the South African and New Zealand national anthems at the World Cup finals in 1995.

She has been nominated for her excellent contribution to the development of South African art and culture in the fields of jazz and opera.

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