Jul 5, 2002


Twenty finalists in South Africa’s Woman of the Year 2002 Award have been announced and these outstanding achievers, who were selected from hundreds of nominations countrywide, will now compete for their category title as well as the overall title of the Shoprite Checkers/SABC3 Woman of the Year 2002.

This year’s finalists range from a medical doctor who has made a cost-effective breakthrough in AIDS testing and a young woman who has established a successful feeding scheme to an international musician and a consumer journalist.

The Award, sponsored by Shoprite Checkers and SABC3, is a major initiative for National Women’s Day on Friday 9 August 2002. It pays tribute to the many unsung women achievers in the country who devote themselves to making a difference within their environments.

Three finalists have been announced in each of six categories with two being selected in the Business category. The finalists in each category are:


Dr Debbie Glencross has made a breakthrough in the method of measuring the immunity of HIV-positive patients that makes the CD4 blood test more affordable. Her efforts with the CD4 project have resulted in an invitation by the World Health Organisation to join its “Working Group for CD4 Technologies” which will hopefully facilitate bringing affordable CD4 testing to the rest of Africa and other third world countries over the next five years. Working closely with international experts, she is also involved in creating awareness for the need of affordable CD4 monitoring worldwide.

Mpho Sebanyoni-Motlhasedi left an established career as a registered nurse to start the Moretele Sunrise Hospice in the North West province. She has trained 362 volunteers in home care, from different villages in the Temba area, to deal with those suffering from HIV/Aids. Her work includes the establishment of a natural or herbal garden as well as support groups for skills development. The centre is used by the National Health Department as a model project for national and international visitors.

Musa Njoko was diagnosed with HIV in 1994 and told she had three months to live. With no access to the information she wanted, she started her own Gauteng-based company called Khanya Aids Interventions, to raise awareness of Aids and its impact on communities. A recognised leader in her field, she is a motivational speaker who focuses on sharing knowledge and skills, and has also been involved in developing training materials and modules. Musa serves on advisory boards in terms of policy development and implementation around HIV/Aids, and presents an Aids awareness programme on the youth education show called Take 5.

Community affairs

Bianca du Plessis launched Feedback in January 2000, a feeding scheme that redistributes food from suppliers to disadvantaged groups around Cape Town. In 2001 it redistributed 352 000kg of food to 51 beneficiaries and this year expects to deliver 600 000kg, conservatively estimating the number of meals it has supplied at over one million. Feedback has also introduced a Sandwich Exchange programme via schools whereby it distributes 4 000 sandwiches a week from 16 privileged schools to children at four underprivileged schools. Feedback links wealth and poverty, creating a social solution from these seemingly irreconcilable extremes, and plans on opening distribution centres in Johannesburg and Durban.

Mirriam Cele launched the Gozololo project in KwaZulu-Natal to offer a halfway home for children affected by violence and hardship in the KwaMashu area. She keeps 1 400 children off the streets by placing them with local pensioners, helping to restore the ‘gogos’ (grannies) dignity by enlisting their help to care for and love the orphaned children. The Gozololo Organisation now has a network of volunteers as well as a founding sponsor, Terry Rosenberg, who assists Mirriam with fundraising. The Organisation operates as a franchise, opening new outlets throughout Durban’s disadvantaged areas. It currently operates five centres and hopes to expand throughout KwaZulu-Natal, then countrywide.

Mamphe Magoro left a secure career as a teacher to take her skills to communities in the Phalaborwa area that required assistance with their children’s development. She established the Bambanani Educare Program that focuses on early child development and teaches mothers the skills they need to assist their children in reaching their full potential. Her project has assisted over 5 000 children in the area and helped to establish over 60 day care centres.


Blanche Moila is a Durban-based athlete specialising in long distance running, involved in coaching young women from disadvantaged communities. She co-managed the SA team at the 21km World Championships in Belgium this year. She started competitive running in 1981 and has won 40 different titles over 10km, 15km, 21km, 42km, 1500m, 3000m and 5000m distances as well as cross country events. She is the first able bodied black female athlete to be awarded the original Springbok colours. Blanche believes that running is physically as well as mentally liberating and encourages women via regular articles she writes for magazines and newspapers as well as visits to local schools. 

Gladys Bullock is a Western Cape based dance teacher who coaches the physically impaired/challenged in ballroom dancing. She started teaching blind students in 1999 and now runs dance classes for the deaf, the blind and the physically impaired at a number of schools throughout the province. She teaches all forms of ballroom, Latin American and social dancing for competitive or social events, and offers students a healthy wholesome outlet for energy and expression that stimulates creative thinking, discipline, confidence and initiative. Gladys works with physiotherapists and medical specialists to offer students more than just a creative outlet as the sport helps with muscle development and lung volume and gives them more stamina.

Hestrie Cloete, North West province’s South African high-jumper, boasts an international and national sporting career and is also involved in coaching clinics via the Athletics Association of South Africa, where she motivates, inspires and teaches aspiring young underprivileged athletes. A gold medallist, she brought home the first gold ever for Africa in the high jump event at the IAAF Grand Prix final in Melbourne at the end of last year and has been honoured by the Abdou Diouf Sport Vertu Foundation in Dakar for her achievement in athletics.

Media and Communications

Mapula Mbhalati is the station manager for Munghana Lonene FM, an SABC radio station in Polokwane. Since joining the radio station in 1975 she has climbed through the ranks from compiling and announcing to her position as manager. She tackles important issues within the community via the radio station and keeps in touch with her listeners by visiting the communities. She has increased the listenership from under a million to one and a half million, and the radio station has received a considerable number of awards under her leadership.

Mathabo Hendricks is a radio presenter with CK1fm in Bisho as well as the public relations officer for the Border Technikon. She is responsible for founding community projects for HIV and TB patients and also assists prisoners to develop skills prior to their release back into society. Responsible for schools and community liaison, she assists scholars to find bursaries and focuses a great deal of attention on the rehabilitation of prisoners, encouraging them to pursue their studies and even assisting with their assignments.

Ina Opperman is a consumer journalist with Beeld and the driving force behind the establishment of the Gauteng Consumer Affairs Court. The voice of the consumer she handles around 300 complaints a week relating to consumer issues. She also writes two columns a week that deal with sensible shopping tips and advice on topical consumer issues. She wrote the Consumer Union book, Buy Right – a consumer guide for SA, in 1990 and is currently updating the book to reflect new consumer laws.


Bathabile Serei is a Meadowlands teacher who instituted a campaign of Aids awareness among students during 2001 when she linked students at local schools with the orphans of the Ingwavuma Orphan Care project in KwaZulu-Natal. Her Children to Children project started with a bakkie-load of clothes and groceries, and since then she has started to make regular trips during school holiday periods, to take truckloads of donations from the community to Ingwavuma. Her main objective is to teach students that you don’t have to be rich to give. 

Masego Tshesejane is a teacher in the Vryburg area of the North West who encourages development in fields as diverse as computer studies and permaculture, across all age groups. Her permaculture projects have enabled communities to become self-sufficient in an area ravaged by poverty and she is involved in skills projects that integrate modern technology with an indigenous lifestyle. 

Millicent Zulu is a quadriplegic who educates and employs disabled people within the community of Osizweni near Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal. Quadriplegic as a result of rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 53, she started the Zimazisa Society for the Disabled which has 115 members. She works at facilitating awareness of the disabled among the communities of Newcastle, and has been involved in skills development programmes for the disabled that enable them to become active members of the community. She has also started a crèche for disabled children and is a popular speaker on the rights of the disabled.

Arts and Culture

Beauty Sekete literally climbs mountains to teach groups of women in KwaZulu-Natal how to sew. She established the umbrella body Izwi Lama Crafters at the end of last year and has eight different projects in geographically diverse areas, offering skills development to people in poverty stricken communities. She teaches the groups, remaining with them for up to three years and assisting them to market their products via Embo Craft. She also presents a Radio Maritzburg talk show whereby she encourages communities to network and get involved in skills development projects.

Rosemary Nalden is an international musician based in Johannesburg who founded the Buskaid Charity to assist young black musicians in South African townships. She organises annual fundraising events in the UK that enable young musicians to tour internationally as well as attend regular classes. She has led teacher training workshops in Cape Town and Johannesburg and raised money to build the Buskaid Music School in Diepkloof, Soweto. She is currently busy with an international Buskaid tour to the UK, Holland, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as fundraising for the production of Buskaid’s third CD. One of her students has been awarded a place at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in England.

Jabulile Dlamini shares her knowledge of arts and culture with a number of communities in KwaZulu-Natal by teaching them skills development and assisting them to market their products. She started the Jambo Art Centre in Pietermaritzburg where community members can display and sell their products. She was responsible for arranging production of the 32 000 Amabeadibeadi bead strings worn by Comrades Marathon runners this year. Jabulile believes in utilising the natural resources available in the communities where she trains and that by sharing her knowledge she can help to alleviate poverty in disadvantaged areas.


Fhatuwani Ramabulana, owner of Khumbe Poultry Farm in Limpopo, started farming in 1985 and now has about 80 000 chickens laying eggs that she sells to the community as well as local shops and businesses. A qualified teacher, Fhatuwani employs 55 people in the area and also offers children from high schools and universities employment during their school holidays. Her business practices sustainable self-reliance and offers a viable food source in a poverty stricken area.

Cora Simpson has operated Cora’s Costumes in Gauteng since 1984 and grown its turnover from R28 000 during the first year to over R2,5-million. She has supplied costumes for Warner Brothers as well as the Nandos outlets worldwide and creates costumes according to current trends and fads for children as well as adults. Dedicated to her staff she has facilitated their development through the company to run their own branches and outlets, and operates an open door policy that is motivational and transparent. 

The category winners as well as the overall winner of the Shoprite Checkers/SABC3 Woman of the Year Award 2002 will be announced at a gala event being held in Cape Town on Wednesday 31 July 2002. The event will be broadcast on SABC3 from 19h00 to 20h00 on National Women’s Day, Friday 9 August 2001.

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