Four members of South Africa’s national rowing squad, one of our country’s most treasured sports teams, are set to receive the National Order of Ikhamanga on Friday, 28 April 2017. The Order of Ikhamanga is a South African honour granted by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu, the foursome who won South Africa’s first-ever Olympic gold medal for rowing at the 2012 London games, will be presented with the award in Pretoria by President Jacob Zuma.

“This is an incredible acknowledgement by the South African government of the men’s achievement,” says national squad head coach Roger Barrow, who was recently named number one rowing coach in the world. “Rowing as a sport has come a long way in SA, helped on by the success of our national squad on the international stage and, of course, our support teams and sponsors.”

One of these sponsors is CN&CO client RMB, which has thrown its weight behind rowing using the catchy pay-off line Thinking.Pulling.Together. (You may have seen the RMB ad online or on TV.)

“Being involved in rowing at all levels in South Africa gives us the opportunity to help develop a sport that’s both growing in popularity here at home and exposing local talent at an international level,” says RMB’s Carolynne Waterhouse. “The fact that these four rowers are being honoured by the President speaks volumes about the status of the sport and its potential to make a huge difference in many South Africans’ lives.”

RMB was recently voted the fastest growing banking brand by Financial Mail, demonstrating an increase in brand value by 49%.

“We are hopeful that rowing as a brand will follow suit!” says Carolynne. “This award is definitely a step in the right direction for that to happen.”