Long-overdue recognition for SA gospel great Rebecca Malope

Johannesburg- The announcement that President Cyril Ramaphosa would bestow the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver on gospel music great Rebecca Malope could not have come at a better time for the award-winning singer.

Following a tough period of no work and major projects being postponed, the national order is an affirmation that South Africa indeed loves and values her.

Malope, who has released 36 gospel albums over her three-decade career, told Sunday World that the pandemic brought her plans of releasing a theatre production that detailed her long career in the industry to a grinding halt.

“I had major plans to release a book that coincided with the opening of a spectacular theatre production that detailed my life and the journey I went through in this beautiful industry that we work in,” she said.


Malope said she put the brakes on the release of her yet-to-be-titled book. She has plans to co-release it with another project that she is working on.

“I do not want to reveal too much about the second project,  but what I can say is that it is a play about my life story. I am still finalizing who will star in the production, but because of the pandemic, my plans had to be delayed.”

Malope is one of two women who will receive the Order of Ikhamanga and one of three out of eight recipients who will be honored alive.

The order is for her “distinguished contribution to South African music”. “Her unique voice brings joy and comfort to many through meaningful gospel music.”

Beaming with excitement, Malope said: “I feel so blessed to receive this award. It is such an honour and privilege to be recognized by people in high places for the work that I have done so far. As a woman, this means so much to me, my career, and the work I have done for the nation as a whole.”

Ramaphosa is expected to bestow various national orders on Thursday. Included in the list for the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold is Prof Sibusiso Cyril Nyembezi (post-humously) and Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala. The late boxer
Arthur Mayisela will also receive the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver.

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