Kolisi, who guided the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in Japan in 2019 and to a series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2021, is one of five individuals who received the Order of Ikhamanga, bestowed in gold, for his inspirational leadership and contribution to rugby.

The Bok captain was honoured for the gold award along with Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis (for her excellent contribution to football), Mono Arthur Sipho Badela (for his role in the field of journalism), Bokwe James Mafuna (for his influence in journalism and political activism), and Solomon Popoli Linda (for his contribution in the field of arts as a musician and composer).

“As an organisation, we are very proud of our captain and his achievements in rugby,” said Mr Alexander.

“Siya is a beacon of hope for thousands of young boys and girls in our country, and he is living proof that it is about choice, not chance that determines your destiny. He is a true ambassador for rugby, and he epitomises the values we stand for as SA Rugby and the Springboks.

“The Order of Ikhamanga is one of the highest honors an individual can receive in South Africa and to be bestowed with this award in such a big year for the Springboks, in which they will attempt to defend their World Cup title in France and become the first team ever to win four titles, makes this even more special.”

Kolisi was elated about receiving the award and said: “This is a huge honour and looking at the caliber of the other individuals who received this award as well, makes it even more special.

“While I am immensely proud, I have to thank my team-mates and the Springbok coaching team for their role in the team’s success in the last few years, because without them, this would not have been possible.”

Kolisi added: “I hope this award inspires the youth of the country to pursue their dreams no matter how challenging their circumstances are in life. Through passion, determination, and hard work anything is possible.”

National Orders are the highest awards the country bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The National Orders also recognise the contributions made by individuals towards building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the country’s Constitution.

President Cyril Ramaphosa bestowed on deserving recipients the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab (for citizens who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation), the Order of Luthuli (recognising SA citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, nation-building, building democracy and human rights, justice and peace, as well as for the resolution of conflict), the Order of Mapungubwe (acknowledging South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement to the benefit of the country and beyond) and the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo (recognising eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa).