Renowned actress, Nomhle Nkonyeni, is being honoured with a National Order. The screen and stage legend from Port Elizabeth will receive the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver from President Cyril Ramaphosa at an Awards ceremony in Pretoria.
It is an accolade given to SA citizens who have excelled in the fields of Arts and Culture, Music, Journalism and Sport.
Nkonyeni has been part of the industry for over 50 years.
A living legend aged 77, Nkonyeni is still actively practising her craft, using her wealth of experience to empower young actors and encouraging them to get involved in arts and culture.
Nkonyeni recently starred in a local soapie.
In 2016, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SA Film and Television Awards. She’s also used her talents to contribute to South Africa’s struggle for freedom.
Nkonyeni says although it was difficult in the old days, they used state productions to spread a message.
“It was difficult in those years, but we used stage productions to put the message across. Security police were so strong and we were watched carefully by them, but nothing and nobody would stop us. We put our lives on the edge because we wanted our people to be free.”
Nkonyeni is from New Brighton, a township that is also home to Winston Ntshona and John Kani. Even with such a remarkable career spanning the apartheid period, she still longs for transformation.
“There is no change, but we are not complaining. Our government needs to recognize us through incentives. There are no companies in South Africa thatprotects rights of the actors, but if you go overseas, they’re in abundance.”
Nkonyeni is internationally known and featured in movies such as Red Dust, Catch a Fire, Of Good Report as well as the 2013 film, Zulu.
She says she is thrilled by the award.
“I am so thrilled by the award, I have received a lot of them in the past, but this time around, it’s from the president himself, but I am happy at last.”
Nkonyeni will be back in front of the camera in May on an international series.