Thu Aug 01 12:20:00 UTC 2002


South Africa’s premier accolade for achievement by women went to Fhatuwani Ramabulana, who was named the Shoprite Checkers/SABC 3 Woman of the Year 2002, at a dazzling concert in celebration of the women of South Africa, held at the ArtsCape Theatre in Cape Town on Wednesday, 31 July 2002.

The event, which will be broadcast on SABC 3 on National Women’s Day, Friday 9 August 2002, also included the announcement of the winners of the seven categories of the Award. 

Fhatuwani, a young poultry farmer in her early twenties, whose vocation benefits her entire community, is the winner of the Business category as well as the overall winner. The owner of Khumbe Poultry Farm in Venda in the Limpopo province, Fhatuwani started farming in 1985 and now operates a business with a turnover of close on R4-million. 

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. 

“We have become very involved with the community,” she says. “We sponsor the local football team and we also offer advice on caring for our natural resources by using good farming methods, from clean and hygienic poultry farming to building barriers for floodwaters.” 

Judges deliberated for several hours due to the high standard of finalists and Judge Lucy Mailula says they chose Fhatuwani because of her drive and ambition. “She is young, has had no formal business training and has achieved a turnover of nearly R4-million in only four years, competing against commercial giants,” says Judge Lucy. 

“Fhatuwani is a pace-setter and a woman with ideas. She intends taking her business global and has proved that she can succeed in a business world normally reserved for men. She is a role model to women who are young, middle-aged and elderly, and although she is relatively unknown, she is a leader.”

Winners of the other six categories of this prestigious Award are:

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.

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 over 70 different villages in the Temba area, to deal with those suffering from HIV/Aids and cancer. 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.

Arts & 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. 

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. 

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. 

Media and Communications
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.

An annual major initiative for National Women’s Day, the Shoprite Checkers/SABC 3 Woman of the Year Award is now in its seventh year and continues to focus attention on issues which are of importance to the women of South Africa.

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