Thu Jul 31 06:41:00 UTC 2008


South Africa’s premier accolade for achievement by women went to Ms Janet Buckland who was named the Shoprite Checkers/ SABC2 Woman of the Year 2008, at a dazzling event in celebration of the women of South Africa, held in Cape Town tonight (Thursday, 31 July 2008). 

Accepting the overall title of this prestigious Award as well as the arts, culture and communications category, Ms Buckland, said that it has been breath-taking to be part of the Award. “Being in the company of such a brilliant group of giving achievers has made it a truly humbling experience. “The women nominated in the Award are inspirational and make me want to rush out and achieve more. Furthermore the recognition this Award has brought to improve the status of the arts in the Eastern Cape is sensational. 

“And with such an award the message is clear - look beyond the surface and really see the need out there!  Everyone has something valuable to share or give,” she concluded.
Ms Buckland or simply known as Mama J to the communities in the Eastern Cape has been responsible for the initiation and creation of a significant number of very successful arts and culture projects in the province. 

She combined her understanding of the value of the arts and particularly theatre in the lives of all South Africans with her skills as a performer, director, fund raiser and administrator to direct these projects over a number of years in the Eastern Cape. 

The most notably project is UBOM! the Eastern Cape Drama Company, which was the first full time professional drama company in the province. It brings theatre presentations and drama workshops to literally thousands of people in schools and communities all over the Eastern Cape. 

Since its start almost six years ago Ubom! has reached audiences totalling more than 178 000. It also has provided 36 full time contracts for actors to work in the Eastern Cape. Ms Buckland is raising the funds to sustain it.  

The Award ceremony will be broadcast on SABC2 at 20h00 on Saturday, 9 August 2008, when National Women’s Day is celebrated. It will also include the announcement of the winners of the seven categories of the Award. A special 48-minute programme in which all the finalists in the Award’s profiles are combined will be broadcast on Sunday, 3 August 2008 at 21h00 also on SABC2.

The winners of the other six categories of the prestigious Award announced are:

Business Entrepreneurs Category
Ms Thabang Molefi is qualified as an Ethno medical practitioner and beauty therapist who with the little savings she had at the time opened the first health spa in Soweto six years ago. Today she owns the The Roots Healthcare Centre business with a multi-million turnover and branches in three South African provinces and a neighbouring country. Her pioneering health centres introduced affordable health care to black communities through the use of the different but effective technique of iridology for diagnosis and herbs as prescribed medicine. It also offers a beauty and detoxing service for the first time in these areas, all contributing to a healthy and a “feel good about yourself”- lifestyle in previously disadvantaged communities. Since the success of her first centre she has grown her business considerably to establish another seven health care centres in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, the Free State and a mobile unit visiting communities in rural and remote areas in the rest of the country. She has created 41 jobs for women in these communities and developed some to managerial positions to run the health centres. Ms Molefi has also outsourced services such as accounting, laundry and security to local business. It is her intention to branch out into franchising creating more business and job opportunities. 

Education Category
Ms Roslyn Narain-Mohan is a teacher at the New West Secondary School in Durban who can truly be seen as the Mother Theresa of her community where she has looked at the scourge of virtually every social injustice that have affected them and have launched campaign after campaign to make a difference. Her community is really a microcosm of the broader South African community where HIV/Aids, crime, racial conflict, poverty, age and individual suffering has ravished social interaction and existence. Ms Narain-Mohan took a stand and as passionate teacher decided to not sit back and see these social injustices continue to destroy her community. She took up the cause and decided that she will use her skills as an educator to teach her community how to engage and help seek answers for those social problems haunting her people and the people of South Africa. In her daily teaching and actions she displays respect for her pupils and she encourages them to focus on the positive and seek solutions for the problems their community face daily. Solutions for her does not only mean reaching out, it also means further education, understanding and identification of the real need and support that would help those being helped to help themselves in the long-term.

Health Category
Prof Lorna Barbara Jacklin has dedicated her life and in particular her medical career to improving the lives of children with mental health problems caused by physical disabilities or abuse. She has acted as an Ombudsman for these children who do not fit into mainline education and struggle to fulfil their potential as they are misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated. Mental health problems rob these children of a fair chance in life if it not treated as it eventually translates into developmental problems which in turn bring social problems as children grow up into adults who cannot function independently and are anti-social in their behaviour. Prof Jacklin holds the position of the Principal Consultant Paediatrician with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand and consults to the Pediatric Department of the Johannesburg Hospital. 

Science and Technology Category
Prof Claire Penn who was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe - Silver by Pres Thabo Mbeki at the end of last year is an internationally acknowledged scientist and academic who has proved that women can reach the pinnacle of academic excellence and match their male colleagues in conducting high-level scientific research. She received the Order of Mapungubwe for her contribution to the field of speech and language pathology, especially in the areas of linguistics, sign language, child language, and aphasia as well as for her groundbreaking research in understanding the complexities of human communication. Prof Penn chose this career because of her fascination with the power of words. She sees communication at the heart of the human endeavour, a capacity which is complex, vulnerable and both a science and an art. It can forge and sustain relationships but can equally represent the main reason for breakdown in understanding between individuals and communities.

Social Welfare Category
Dr  Veni Naidu gave up a high powered and lucrative career in the corporate world ten years ago to make a real and meaningful contribution in the world of development in the hope of becoming part of a solution for a better South Africa. She enriched her education with the focus on development and was received a doctorate in researching the potential impact of HIV and AIDS on business, families and on the communities in which they live. As most studies focused on the medical aspects of HIV and AIDS at that stage she believed it to be essential to investigate the economic and social impacts. She initially undertook a study of the impact of HIV and AIDS on strategic market plans. Dr Naidu completed the first study in South Africa on the impact HIV and AIDS on income-earning urban households and added new knowledge to the subject. Other researchers have expanded on her work and some of her micro economic studies have been used in macro economic modelling.  As Dr Naidu has not been shy to tread un-chartered waters to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged South Africans she has made significant contributions in the field of health and social development. Her work has pointed at what the costs of morbidity and mortality of HIV and AIDS to households are and that extending peoples lives with treatment is more beneficial to business and to the individuals’ family. 

Sport Category
Prof Sherylle Calder is a visual performance skills coach and world authority on the subject who has the distinction of having received back-to-back World Cup winners’ medals after coaching skills to both the triumphant Springboks last year and the 2003 English World Cup winners. As the only person in the world who has achieved this and with a PHD degree in visual performance training she is a pioneer in this field and has created an exciting new sport science that is sought-after by international sporting champions and coaches. Prof Calder has worked with and coached some of the world’s top sport teams helping them finding an extra edge and dimension in their game. The new science is based on the thinking that nothing happens in sport until the eye tells the body what to do. Prof Calder herself, a South African hockey player for fourteen years, developed this eye technique to improve her own game and called it Eyethink. Between 1982 and 1996, she represented South Africa in hockey, gaining 50 international field hockey caps and 15 indoor caps. Recognition as one of the top players of her era came in 1995 when she was selected to the team comprising the top 11 players in the pre-Olympic Qualifying Hockey Tournament. 

Issued by Patti Quinton @ (011) 465-5225 or 083 263 6281
On behalf of: Shoprite Checkers/SABC2 Woman of the Year Award 

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