South African gospel icon Rebecca Malope has been honoured with a national order for her distinguished contribution to music and touching millions of hearts through music.
The best-selling gospel star was bestowed with a silver Order of Ikhamanga by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the event held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday last week.
Speaking after taking selfies and having lunch with President Ramaphosa, Malope was still on cloud nine.
“It has not sunk in yet that I have received a national order because of my music,” she said. “Words such as thank you and grateful are just not enough to express how I am feeling. I’m truly honoured that I have received this national order. When I do my music, I don’t do it to be honoured. I am grateful and humbled by a great gesture by South Africans who nominated me for the national order.
“After getting the order I wanted to go crazy and just be me — Rebecca. But I could not because I was among the most serious people. I punched the air just like the late Winnie Mandela because I just could not contain my excitement.” Asked about having lunch with President Ramaphosa, Malope said: “We had a great lunch with the president and he is a friendly person. He is just a guy from next door. We took pictures and he is a lovely human being. I want to thank him and the whole country for this national order.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala posthumously received the Order Of Ikhamanga in gold for his exceptional contribution to the promotion of African Isicathamiya music which showcased in world stages and brought honour and unity to South Africa.
The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
Born in 1968, Malope has been churning out hit after hit in the past three decades, breaking all sales records. In her colourful and fruitful career, she has won many awards and has released 36 successful albums.
Malope, who got her break through talent search show Shell Road to Fame, has sold at least 10m albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time.
Some of her hits include Angingedwa, Ukuzenza, Somlandela, Iyahamba Lenqola, and Shwele Baba. — Sowetan