South Africans have been invited to nominate candidates from all walks of life who they believe deserve to receive the country’s highest awards, the National Orders.

The next National Orders awards investiture ceremony will take place in April 2017, honouring South Africans and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed to the achievement of a free, united, non-racial, democratic, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa in various ways.

Also to be honoured will be citizens who have sacrificed life and limb to save others and those who have excelled in various fields.

The ceremony contributes towards unity, reconciliation and nation building and the Grand Patron of the National Orders, the South African president, has invited the nominations before the Aug 31, 2016 deadline.

The six orders which are bestowed are:

* The Order of Mendi for Bravery which recognizes South African citizens who have performed acts of bravery;

* The Order of Ikhamanga which recognizes South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport;

* The Order of the Baobab which recognizes South African citizens who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation;

* The Order of Luthuli which recognizes South African 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 which recognizes South Africans who have excelled and attained exceptional achievement to the benefit of South Africa and beyond; and

* The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo which recognizes eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore an Order of peace, co-operation and active expression of solidarity and support.