Jul 24, 2010
The title winners of the new Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award which searched for exceptional and visionary women achievers who with determination and foresight are making an impact on the future of fellow South Africans were announced this weekend (Saturday, 24 July 2010) in Johannesburg.
They are Ms Lucilla Booyzen in the Corner Shop to Big Business Makers Category, Ms Lesley Ann van Selm in Good Neighbours, Sister Jane Munyadziwa Dzebu in Health Care-Givers, Ms Jackie Gallagher in Educators and Ms Khanyisile Motsa received the Award in the Youth Movers Category.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele was honoured with the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award after the public nominated her as an esteemed South African whom during her lifetime has inspired generations. She received R100 000 to donate to a cause which she believes will better the lives of South Africans.
The winners accepted their Awards at a dazzling event held in celebration of women and their role in the future of South Africa this weekend (Saturday, 24 July 2010) at Emperors Palace in Gauteng. The event will be broadcast during prime time on Monday, 9 August 2010 on MNet.
Receiving the Corner Shop to Big Business Makers Award, Ms Booyzen said the Award is an acknowledgement of the impact that SA Fashion Week has had on the SA public at large.
She added: “Our aim is to create awareness in the minds of the SA consumer to the vast creative design resources that are available to them through our emerging design industry and the unlimited opportunities to create thousands of jobs through building SMME’s and luxury brands which is the future of fashion in Africa”.
Ms Booyzen is a stalwart of the South African Fashion Industry and the woman who launched South African Fashion Week (SAFW). It was the first independent showcase for the country’s fashion designers and has contributed substantially to the growth and future of the South African fashion industry locally and abroad.
She has developed a distinctive South African design ethos and culture through SA Fashion Week, which now also incorporates a number of initiatives to encourage skills transfer, foster new partnerships and support empowerment.
The judging panel commented it was a difficult task to choose one winner as all the nominees are formidable and inspiring. “Ms Booyzen however embodied all the aspects of the criteria and has made an indelible mark in her field locally and internationally, not only for herself, but the individuals she has assisted and South Africa at large.”
The Good Neighbours Award went to Ms Van Selm who said when receiving it: “The reputational value of the award will provide us with the ability to access networks, spread awareness and lend credibility to our crucial work which will be of immense significance at a time when Khulisa is up scaling its operations both nationally and globally.”
Ms Van Selm founded the Khulisa Crime Prevention Initiative 13 years ago using African stories to instil morals among offenders. Today Khulisa is a successful Section 21 (not-for-profit) company making a unique contribution to a safer South Africa now and in the future.
Fuelled by her passion for working with marginalised people and armed only with her marketing expertise, experience in building companies for a new South Africa and a genuine belief in the importance of inter-cultural dialogue Ms Van Selm established Kulisa.
Here she developed the concept of African stories for morals into a series of crime prevention and community development interventions aimed at offenders in prisons, ex-offenders and at-risk youth and vulnerable children in communities to restore their self esteem, prevent crime and reduce recidivism, make restitution, and offer socially responsible alternatives to gangs, drugs and crime.
Ms Van Selm built a strong team of people of whom 94% are women to manage the company where the cycle of crime is understood and programmes are targeted to address key issues and problems with deep cultural roots.
The panel of judges commented on the work of the winner saying: “in a country where crime and violence often cause anger, sadness, depression and a need for revenge, Ms Van Selm epitomises the opposite: positive, conciliatory, optimistic and energetic. She carries the hopes of many in the work she does and is an excellent neighbour to all.”
Receiving the Educators Award Ms Gallagher said: “It is an honour to be chosen as the winner. Although this Award places the spotlight on my contribution, for me, more than anything this award stands as an acknowledgment of the team work that is a daily reality at Sparrow Schools.
“Working together we make a difference in the lives of children and youth who otherwise face limited life options. I am delighted with the greater awareness and public standing this award will bring to Sparrow Schools’ work.”
Ms Gallagher is the Founder and General Manager of the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust which started 20 years ago after she placed a small newspaper advertisement resulting in her teaching 4 learners on Saturdays in a church hall in Joubert Park in Johannesburg.
The initiative grew to a well-respected educational organisation that has helped thousands of children prejudiced by the educational policies of the Apartheid Government to better their education and skills for a brighter future.
Today the Sparrow Schools and Educational Trust are two interconnected projects catering for around 600 children and youth from impoverished communities at a time, employing 82 staff members at the Foundation School in Melville and the Sparrow Combined Vocational Training Centre in Sophiatown.
The panel of judges said their decision was based on the fact that Ms Gallagher is “a visionary leader who has turned her dream of empowering learners with special needs into reality. Her inspiration and determination as a leader has become a beacon of hope for thousands of learners through Sparrows Schools. She has dedicated herself to not only serving the poor in squatter settlements but also working to empower them through education.”
Ms Motsa was honoured with the Youth Movers Award and said: “It has been an honour to be chosen a finalist and to now win the Award in this category makes it possible for me to fulfill my long awaited aspiration for the Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope.
“Life will never be the same for the 30 beneficiaries, 5 peer educators and 10 care-givers and through the Award they are now able to improve on their development through education.
“I am also fulfilled and feel even more motivated because I now know there are people around us who appreciate the work we do for community development.“
Ms Motsa founded the Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope ten years ago and has since touched the lives of more than 8 000 street children who have had the opportunity to get their childhood back and have the prospect of becoming responsible citizens shaping the future of South Africa.
She has used her indigenous knowledge with great success to get the project off the ground and then applied a strategy of firstly identifying the street children, mostly girls who have been exploited on the streets of Hillbrow, Berea and the Inner City of Johannesburg. Thousands of these street girls have had their dignity restored in the Berea-Hillbrow Home of Hope. They have truly been given a second chance in life.
The panel of judges commented on her work saying: “Ms Motsa works in an area in South Africa that’s hardly spoken about and often ignored – child prostitution – and also has to confront dangerous intermediaries - the pimps further putting her life in danger. She doesn’t have sufficient state or other funding to meet her needs. There’s tangible proof of beneficiaries – over 8,000 kids – with a number of them turning their lives around and entering the mainstream economy as productive citizens and professionals. What stands out was her passion, her commitment and personal responsibility towards the programme and it’s goals – and aims to grow.”
The Health Care-Givers Award went to Sister Dzebu who said: ''I feel greatly humbled and am grateful to God, that He has given me a healthy body and a sound mind to help alleviate the sufferings of the women and the girl-children in South Africa as they are the heartbeat of our nation.
“My humble contribution is to help them regain their lives so that they do not wallow in the depths of self-pity and take charge of their personal health from an informed position. I believe we can strive to restore their dignity. The only barometer to gauge the health of this Nation is how we treat and empower their women and girl-children.
“I believe in what I am doing and will continue to do it. Through this Award, women and the girl-children in South Africa are the real winners. I truly dedicate this to them!"
Sister Dzebu is a dedicated professional nurse who has rekindled hope for healing while delivering world-class and pioneering nursing care for women who are treated for gynaecological cancers at the Charlotte Maxeke-Johannesburg Hospital.
She heads the gynaecology cold case intake ward, Ward 196, at this state hospital and her work in this ward is an example of how South Africa’s health facilities can be restored to formidable levels in the public sector with professionals (nurse practitioners and medical practitioners) backing their profession in deeds and action.
The panel of judges commented that “the work this winner does is an answer to health care systems which does not always work well in South Africa. Sister Dzebu has proved that individuals at every level of the system who want to make a difference can do exactly that. Her ward and staff provide high quality caring care that is acknowledged by all. She sees a problem and takes action to address it. She leads by example and demands high standards from herself and her staff. She has useful ideas that could improve health worker performance. With individuals like her we could solve many of the problems in the health system in South Africa.”
By winning the Award these five women each received R30 000 in individual prize money as well as R100 000 towards the work they do for a better future in South Africa.
To ensure sustainability of this work the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award has partnered with the WHEAT Women’s Fund to help the winners manage the investment of the R100 000 for their projects.
The WHEAT Women’s Fund is an organisation committed to achieving gender justice through supporting grassroots women’s initiatives with investments, skills training and technical support. They help community-based organisations and projects to implement their outreach efforts and encourage accountability and good governance.