Ngcobo had been speaking last night at the Durban ICC where the eThekwini Municipality recognised 11 men and women for their contribution to the betterment of society through their various fraternities.
These including arts and culture as well as academia among others.
Pietermaritzburg born chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was one of those who received an award.
Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman and southern region candidate to lead the AU.
Ngcobo, who received the award in 2012, says the recipients should be seen as an inspiration in the troubled times facing South Africa.
"As a nation we are challenged to build a society that is fundamentally different from the past that was characterised by racial injustice and economic deprivation.
"The society that we have committed ourselves to build is a new society, one that is based on democratic values and social justice. Achieving this goal will not occur overnight but we must work towards the achievement of this goal," he said.
(File photo: Gallo Images)
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