News Brief

These South Africans are Being Awarded Presidential Honors

From veteran musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka to actress Mary Twala-Mhlongo, these distinguished South Africans are receiving national orders from the president today.

The national orders are the highest honors that can be bestowed by the president of South Africa to South Africans and foreign nationals who have not only made it their business to advance democracy, but improved the lives of other South Africans. These awards include, among several others, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli and the Order of Mapungubwe.


Among the recipients is internationally recognized musician, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. She received the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for her contribution to music and bringing about social cohesion in South Africa. Chaka Chaka's song "Umqombothi" is perhaps her most well known and was from the 2005 album Hotel Rwanda which was used for the movie with the same title. Back in 2017, Chaka Chaka was awarded the Global Good Star and Power Award by BET.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka - Umqombothi (South Africa) youtu.be

Legendary actress and mother to celebrity and television personality Somizi Mhlongo, Mary Twala-Mhlongo, also received the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for her lifelong work in film and television. Twala-Mhlongo has acted in the historically important 1992 film Sarafina alongside Whoopi Goldberg as well as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and even The Dark Tower alongside Idris Elba. Twala-Mhlongo received this award along with fellow performing artist, Nomhle Nkonyeni.

Mathata Tsedu, a veteran journalist who for decades has dedicated his life to seeing the liberation of South Africa, was also awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in silver. He is the former editor of City Press and board member of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

In a special award, the Order of Mendi (for bravery) was awarded posthumously to Thapelo Tambani, a 9-year-old boy who drowned whilst saving a friend of his who had fallen into a construction pit. He is the youngest to ever receive this award.



University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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Photo by Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge Nominated for Sportsman of the Year Award

The record-breaking marathon runner has been nominated for the top prize in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Sport24 reports that Kenyan athlete and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has been nominated for Sportsman of the Year in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.

He's made the prestigious nominations list alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

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