hONOURING THE BEST AMONG US

PHINDILE Ndlovu, a Soweto woman who died in a fire trying to rescue her children, is among several South Africans who will be honoured by President Jacob Zuma this year.

PHINDILE Ndlovu, a Soweto woman who died in a fire trying to rescue her children, is among several South Africans who will be honoured by President Jacob Zuma this year.

She will be awarded the Order of Mendi for bravery posthumously.

The award is given to citizens who have performed an extraordinary act of bravery that placed their lives in danger to save the lives of others.

Though she died with two of her children she managed to pass her baby through a window to neighbours - before she went into the flames in a bid to save her other children.

The president will bestow the National Orders at Union Buildings in Pretoria next week.

The National Orders are the highest awards the country bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals for contributing to our nation's attainment of democracy, as well as building democracy and human rights.

Among the recipients will be international star Miriam Makeba, who will be awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in gold.

It is awarded to citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

Makeba will be awarded for her exceptional contribution in the field of music and in the struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

Natalie du Toit, best known for the gold medals she won at the 2004 Paralympic Games, will also be awarded with the Order of Ikhamanga in gold for her exceptional achievements in the sporting arena.

She captured the world's attention when she competed with able-bodied athletes and broke her own world record.

Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya will also be recognised - in silver - for their excellent contributions to the field of music and in the struggle against apartheid while the married couple was in exile.

The Order of Ikhamanga will also be awarded in bronze to Khotso Mokoena, in recognition of his work as a sporting ambassador of the country and for inspiring a nation.

Mokoena specialises in the long jump and triple jump events.

He won the silver medal for South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2006 in the triple jump.

He also won the gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Spain last year in the long jump

The National Orders contribute towards unity and reconciliation. It is against this background that they are regarded as an important element of nation-building and consolidating democracy.

The government, through the National Orders, seeks to promote a society based on democratic values, social justice and human rights.

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