Pretty Yende was awarded a Ceremonial Badge of Honour for her contribution to the arts and letters in France and worldwide.

The South African opera singer was born in the small town of Piet Retief, Mpumalanga. She made her professional operatic debut at the Latvian National Theatre in Riga, Latvia, as Micaela in Carmen in 2010. She now frequently travels for performances at some of the best-known theatres in the world.

On Tuesday, the South African soprano was bestowed an Order of Arts and Letters award by France’s Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak.

“The Order of Arts and Letters, established in 1957 by the French Minister of Culture, rewards those who, through their ongoing engagement and creativity, have helped develop the arts and literature in France and throughout the world,” according to the Medailles Officielles website.

“I feel extremely honoured and humbled by such a prestigious Decoration,” Yende said of the special moment

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French Ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi, Aurélien Lechevallier, congratulated Yende on Twitter.

“What a beautiful opportunity to celebrate your South African roots, your unique talent and incredible journey! We stand by you!”

South Africa’s Ambassador to France, Monaco and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Tebogo Seokolo, also congratulated the 37-year-old for her achievement on Twitter

“Proud moment: Today in Paris, our own opera singer, Pretty Yende, was awarded the Ceremonial Badge of Honour by the French Minister of Culture, Madame Rima Abdul Malak. Congrats Pretty, and thank you, France, for this recognition,” he wrote alongside a photo of the moment.

Article Credit: Bronwyn McKay,