Nomhle Nkyonyeni, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Mary Twala are among the incredible women honoured with National Orders by the president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

National Orders are recognised by the state as the highest honour on South Africans who played a role in bettering and serving their communities.

READ MORE: "Women will save South Africa" - Oprah Winfrey

The president said in his address at the ceremony that “these Orders celebrate individuals who have excelled; whose actions and works represent the triumph of the human spirit”.

These are the exceptional women who were honoured:

Mary Twala

Seasoned actress Mary Twala is awarded the Order of Ikhamanga. This order is given to South Africans who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. Mary is being recognised for her contribution to performing arts and raising awareness on women’s health issues in her storytelling.

Mary is known for her roles in television series such as Skwiza and Home Affairs among other notable shows.

READ MORE: We would love to see these SA women immortalised as comic book superheroes like one of our fave young icons, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Internationally renowned singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka has also been honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga award. She is recognised for her excellence in music and her contribution to social cohesion.

Nomhle Nkyonyeni

Nomhle Nkyonyeni has had an illustrious career spanning more than 50 years in film and television.

She has appeared in international movies Skin and Catch A Fire in addition to appearing in some of South Africa’s notable shows including Scandal! and Zero Tolerance. She has now been honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga for her contribution to the performing arts.

Edna Molewa (posthumous)

Honoured with the Order of Mapungubwe is the late Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, awarded to her for excellence and exceptional achievement in her work in environmental affairs.

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe

Former South African ambassador and diplomat Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe has been honoured with the Order of Luthuli – awarded to South Africans who have made a meaningful contribution to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace, and conflict resolution – for her contribution to the liberation struggle of South Africa.

READ MORE: When Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said 'ukubekezela' is a no-no for her, we all stood up and listened

Other women honoured by the president are Constance Koza who received the Order of the Baobab (posthumous) for her contribution to education and community development, Dora Phillips is honoured with the Order of the Baobab (posthumous).

Honoured with the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo is Paulette Pierson-Mathy from Belgium and Lucia Raadschelders (posthumous) from the Netherlands.

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.