Struggle stalwarts Ruth First, Dawid Kruiper and Frances Baard, top athletes Caster Semenya, Lucas Sithole and Cameron van der Burg, as well as business executives Raymond Ackerman and Chris Ball are among the list of South Africans who will receive National Orders, the country's highest civilian honour, on Freedom Day this year.
This year's ceremony will be the 20th since the dawn of democracy and the inception of the new national orders system. It line with the country's celebrations of 20 years of freedom, the ceremony will have the theme, "South Africa: a better place to live in", the Presidency said on Wednesday.
"National Orders are the highest awards that our country bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals, who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans," Dr Cassius Lubisi, the chancellor of the National Orders and director-general in the Presidency, said at a press conference in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The orders recognise the contributions made by individuals towards building "a non- racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the Constitution", he said.
Order of Mendi
The Order of Mendi for Bravery will be awarded in silver to Russell Maphanga, Indres Naidoo, Shirish Nanabhai and Reggie Vandeyar for their contributions in ensuring a free and democratic country for all South Africans.
Elizabeth Barrett will receive a bronze award for her "courageous act of selflessness in saving 14 children from a burning house and her continued giving to vulnerable orphans and street children".
Order of Ikhamanga
Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh's decision to continue to train at home and his "continuous excellence" in the pool will receive a silver Order of Ikhamanga, which recognises excellence in the arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. Soccer coach Ephraim Matsilele "Jomo" Sono will also receive a silver order.
Runner Mokgadi Caster Semenya will be recognised for making the country proud "against all odds", as will paralympic athlete Fanie van der Merwe and disabled tennis star Lucas Sithole.
Author Zakes Mda will be recognised for his stories that help preserve South Africa's cultural history. Lindiwe Mabuza, actor Sandra Prinsloo together with jazz musicians Rashid Lombard and "Bra Vic" Mheli Ntoni (posthumous) will receive orders for their contributions in using the arts to fight racism.
Order of the Baobab
Businessmen Raymond Ackerman and Chris Ball will receive the Order of the Baobab, which recognises South Africans who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation.
Alexander Boraine's role as a "courageous proponent of the truth and reconciliation commission" will be recognised, as well as Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert (posthumous), who "stood with courage of his convictions and bore the brunt of apartheid leaders".
Teacher Katrina Esau and Dawid Kruiper (posthumous) will receive silver orders for their work in protecting San and Khoi cultures.
The Order in Bronze will be bestowed on Tshepo Khumbane and Abraham September.
Order of Luthuli
The Order of Luthuli recognises South African citizens 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.
Frances Baard, Ruth First and Florence Matomela will all receive the order in gold for their exceptional activism and legacies which continue to inspire.
David Wilcox Hlahane Bopape (posthumous), Abdullah Haron (posthumous) and Sir Bob Hepple will also recieve the order in gold. Abdhulhay Jassat, Wolfie Kodesh (Posthumous), Father Simangaliso Mkhatshwa, Popo Molefe, Zephania Lekwame Mothopeng (Posthumous), Agnes Msimang, Jeanette Schoon (posthumous) and Zola Sidney Themba Skweyiya are recipients of the order in silver.
The Order will be bestowed in Bronze to Mittah Seperepere (posthumous).
Order of Mapungubwe
This recognises South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement to the benefit of South Africa and beyond.
The award in silver will be bestowed on professors Ismail Mohamed (posthumous), Simon Schaaf, Barry Schoub, and Dr William Soga (posthumous). Dr Namrita Lall will receive the order in bronze.
Order of the Companions of OR Tambo
This order of "peace, co-operation and active expression of solidarity and support" which recognises foreign nationals will be given to Lord Richard Attenborough, Canadian writer and African scholar Gwendolen Carter (posthumous), Guinean political figure Jeanne Martin Cissé, American author and political scientist Thomas Karis, trade unionist and activist Alexander Moumbaris, Angolan Ruth Neto as well as British Labour politician Lord Neil Kinnock.
Actors Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard, musician Quincy Jones, and Jerry Dammers, who wrote Free Nelson Mandela, are also recipients of the order.
- SAinfo reporter and The Presidency