Hashim Amla has become the first cricketer in 10 years to receive South Africa's Order of Ikhamanga, a national award given out to recognise achievements of those in the fields of arts‚ culture‚ literature‚ music‚ journalism and sport.
Amla was named as a silver award recipient by the Chancellor of National Orders, Dr Cassius Lubisi, who explained Amla is being honoured, "for his contribution to the sport of cricket. He has brought pride to our country with his many batting firsts in the international cricket arena and remains one of the leading batsmen of our time."
Amla is the only South African to have scored a triple-century in Test cricket, is their second-highest century-maker in Test cricket with 28 hundreds and the country's leading ODI century-maker with 26 to his name. He is currently ranked 11th on the ICC Test rankings and 12th in ODIs and has captained South Africa in all formats.
Prior to Amla receiving the award, Shaun Pollock, South Africa's leading Test wicket-taker, and Makhaya Ntini, the first black African to play Test cricket for South Africa, were named as Order of Ikhamanga recipients in 2008. The trio are the only cricketers to be named for the order during their playing days.
Basil D'Oliveira received the award in 2003, when it was first established. Also that year, Eric Majola and Goolam Abed, who were selected for both cricket and rugby for black South African teams during the Apartheid era, were recognised. In 2004, Hassan Howa, after whom the Howa bowl, a cricket tournament for non-white players which ran from the early 1970s until unity in 1991 was named, was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent