Billionaire funds Ray Phiri's Aus visit

Mbombela - Music legend Ray "Chikapa" Phiri has been given an all-expenses-paid voucher to visit Australia for two weeks.

IT billionaire Robert Gumede presented the voucher to Phiri to celebrate his successes after he and his band, Stimela, were nominated for four MTN South African Music Awards (Samas) and received the silver Order of Ikhamanga from President Jacob Zuma last month.

"To be honoured by your people is the highest honour you can get. Ray, being the humble person that he is, never demanded the (Sama) award. (Ray is) my hero," said Gumede.

Phiri was bestowed with the Order of Ikhamanga with two other Mpumalanga citizens on Freedom Day. The others being iconic photographer Sam Nzima and Olympic gold medallist Josiah Thugwane.

Apartheid

The National Orders are the highest awards bestowed by the South African President on citizens and members of the international community who have contributed meaningfully to the country's development.

Phiri was bestowed with the national order for his musical achievements and contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

"I had the best opportunity ever... I was lucky to be born in this province. South Africa made me its son, I’m not bitter. If you want to be good, practice, practice, practice," said Phiri, after Gumede gave him the voucher.

Gumede also promised to throw a similar party for Nzima, who lives in Lillydale near Hazyview
 
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