Siya Kolisi wins top award in South Africa

Siya Kolisi, the Springbok captain, has been honoured with the National Order of Ikhamanga, which is one of the highest awards an individual can receive in South Africa.

The award recognizes citizens who have excelled in sports, arts, culture, literature, music, and journalism. Kolisi received the award in recognition of his inspirational leadership and contribution to rugby.

Kolisi leads SA to victory

Kolisi, who led the Springboks to victory at the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 and to a series win over the British & Irish Lions in 2021, is one of five individuals who received the gold Order of Ikhamanga.

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis, journalist Mono Arthur Sipho Badela, journalist and political activist Bokwe James Mafuna, and musician and composer Solomon Popoli Linda were the other recipients.

The South African Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander, congratulated Kolisi on behalf of the entire rugby fraternity, saying that he was a true ambassador for rugby who epitomized the values that the sport stood for. He also highlighted that the award was one of the highest honors that an individual could receive in South Africa and that it was a testament to Kolisi’s achievements in rugby.

“As an organisation, we are very proud of our captain and his achievements in rugby,” said Mr Alexander.

“Siya is a beacon of hope for thousands of young boys and girls in our country, and he is living proof that it is about choice, not chance that determines your destiny. He is a true ambassador for rugby, and he epitomises the values we stand for as SA Rugby and the Springboks.

“The Order of Ikhamanga is one of the highest honors an individual can receive in South Africa and to be bestowed with this award in such a big year for the Springboks, in which they will attempt to defend their World Cup title in France and become the first team ever to win four titles, makes this even more special.”

Kolisi was elated about receiving the award and said: “This is a huge honour and looking at the caliber of the other individuals who received this award as well, makes it even more special.

“While I am immensely proud, I have to thank my team-mates and the Springbok coaching team for their role in the team’s success in the last few years, because without them, this would not have been possible.”

Kolisi added: “I hope this award inspires the youth of the country to pursue their dreams no matter how challenging their circumstances are in life. Through passion, determination, and hard work anything is possible.”

The National Orders are the highest awards that South Africa bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals. They recognise individuals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans. President Cyril Ramaphosa bestowed on deserving recipients the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo.

Kolisi’s award comes at a time when the Springboks are preparing to defend their Rugby World Cup title in France and become the first team ever to win four titles. His leadership and contribution to rugby have undoubtedly played a significant role in the team’s recent success, and his achievement will inspire young South Africans to pursue their dreams, no matter how challenging their circumstances may be.

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