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Fourth Annual Philanthropy Awards honours 15 exceptional people

Categories: Social & Community
Awards acknowledge, celebrate and profile Philanthropists making a difference in South Africa

At the annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards held in Cape Town yesterday evening (15 November 2010), fifteen exceptional people were honoured for their philanthropic efforts in South Africa. See the Gallery for photos...

Initiated by Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement four years ago, the Awards acknowledge, celebrate and profile Philanthropists making a difference in South Africa, as well as encourage and inspire South Africans at all economic levels to give and contribute what they can. By doing so, they take responsibility for South Africa's social development. 

The following received awards:

  • Mr Linda Clement Twala from Alexandra, Johannesburg, was awarded The 2010 Inyathelo Award for Lifetime Philanthropy for his outstanding efforts in feeding and caring for the sick, elderly and youth in his community for the past 43 years. He started the Phuthatijaba centre in the 1960s as a centre that provides care and food for the elderly in Alexandra, as well as a wide variety of other activities such as skills and youth development.
  • Internationally renowned Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Emeritas Desmond Tutu and his wife of 50 years, Nomalizo Leah Tutu, have been awarded the Inyathelo Indima-Tema Philanthropy Award for their tireless efforts to enhance the lives of others and their commitment to improving South Africa's social development. The couple have been the voices that kept the flame of human rights issues burning during apartheid and in the years following freedom in 1994. They now support and assist a wide range of humanitarian initiatives in South Africa. The Award which, loosely translated, means forging a path or reviewing the positive work that you've done, was especially created by Inyathelo this year to honour this remarkable couple.
  • For creating 18twenty8, an initiative that empowers disadvantaged young women by providing crucial life skills through workshops and mentoring, well-known actress, TV Presenter, voice-over artist and businesswoman, Ms Refiloe Seseane of Johannesburg, has been awarded The 2010 Inyathelo Youth in Philanthropy Award. To date, the organisation has reached and inspired over 750 high-potential girls in Grade 11 and 12 at 11 high schools in Vosloorus, Daveyton, Wattville, Tembisa, Katlehong and Soweto. She has also established the 18twenty8 Big Sister network which pairs educated, professional women who are established in their respective careers with like-minded Little Sisters to mentor them as they plan their careers in a similar field. 18twenty8 is one of the few organisations in South Africa that is 100% led by young women who empower other young women.
  • Ms Ivonne Gentle from Britstown has been awarded The 2010 Inyathelo Philanthropy Award for Women in Philanthropy for establishing Gentle Care, a centre formed to care for the sick people in this remote poverty-stricken district in the Northern Cape. The centre also hosts workshops to teach skills to the community. 
  • South African born Anthony Record, and his American wife, Carole, who live in the United Kingdom, have been awarded The 2010 Inyathelo Award for International Philanthropy to South Africa for the establishment of a project called Light from Africa. This project is a Ceramic Art Studio, Gallery and Foundation promoting skills development, employment and funding. Previously unemployed artists in Cape Town use the ceramic skills learnt through the centre to assist in funding the operating costs of several children's homes in the Western Cape. 
  • By allocating 70% of the shares in his company, Mertech Group, to the totally independent Mergon Foundation, Francois van Niekerk of Pretoria has been able to raise some R30-million per annum to support social investment programmes in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia and the United Kingdom. He has co-established the Atterbury Trust and the Atterbury Foundation, both aimed at improving education and assisting the destitute, as well as Muthobi, a not-for-profit investment consultancy which links businesses and ground-level organisations together in order to create value for those in greatest need. Van Niekerk's commitment to improving the lives of others for the past 31 years has him The 2010 Inyathelo Special Recognition Award for Philanthropy. 
  • George Mazarakis, Executive Producer of popular investigative programme, Carte Blanche and Trustee of the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Campaign together with the patron of the campaign, Karolina Andropoulos, have been honoured for their work in equipping paediatric units in hospitals with life-saving equipment and mobilising corporate and private South Africa to donate millions of Rands to support this initiative. Both have been awarded The 2010 Inyathelo Award for the Support of Philanthropy in the Media. The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, King Edward VIII hospital in Durban, Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein and the Kimberley Hospital Complex have all benefitted from the R70-million raised.

Two Inyathelo Awards for Community Philanthropy have been awarded this year.

  • Mr Jonathan Schrire from Wynberg in the Western Cape was given the Award for his work with the Vrygrond Community Development Trust in the establishment of the Vrygrond public library, Sunrise Preschool and Capricorn Primary School, all of which have improved the lives of the children in the area. His work in Vrygrond, spanning 15 years, has united a community once plagued with murder, gangsterism and conflict.
  • Recognising the cycle of poverty and dependency in which many workers on wine farms in the Cape can find themselves, two far-sighted wine farmers established an equity and profit sharing initiative that revolutionised the standard of living of their workforce in the Franschhoek Valley. As a result of this partnership and the profits from the Wijn de Caab Trust, the farm workers now have new and comfortable homes, satellite television, educational opportunities for their children and medical care to name a few. This sustainable initiative has earned Mark Solms and Richard Astor of the Solms-Delta Wine Farm the second such award.


Two Inyathelo Merit Awards for Philanthropy have been awarded this year.

  • Mr Noel de Villiers, founder of AVIS South Africa, has enabled several communities in rural South Africa and neighbouring countries to generate income through increased tourism by creating Open Africa, a unique initiative that creates travel journeys off the beaten track. The initiative has also encouraged communities to conserve their environment as they come to understand the value of the environment for tourism. His dedication to bettering South Africa and encouraging conservation, has earned him the abovementioned Award.
  • Writer, Richard Mason received the second such Award for the establishment of the Kay Mason Foundation (KMF). The foundation's aim is to give talented young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential, whatever their circumstances, by providing scholarships for the payment of school fees and, where applicable, boarding fees. Mason has also developed Lulutho, an upliftment programme which is based in the Eastern Cape aimed at assisting KMF students to escape the crime and grime of the township. It teaches them about the challenges facing rural communities and provides training and skills to local residents in setting up sustainable businesses and assists in reviving the local eco-system.

Philanthropists are nominated by their peers and members of the communities in which they work and by the non-profit organisations that they support. The awardees are chosen according to specific criteria. The judges, who come from various sectors - all highly respected people in their own right - evaluate each nomination in detail.

"The response to this year's awards has been excellent and the calibre of nominees inspiring," says Shelagh Gastrow, Executive Director for Inyathelo. "It was very hard to narrow the nominees down and finally make a decision as to who to give the awards to. Every one was inspirational and we applaud all for their hard work and commitment."

Gastrow says it is clear from the nominations received that there are hundreds of South Africans intent on making a difference in their communities and thus helping improve South Africa's social situation.

The awards form part of Inyathelo-The South African Institute for Advancement's work which aims to build a sustainable South African civil society by developing their own capacity to raise private investment towards advancing their objectives. Whilst working with organisations to develop their resource mobilisation skills, the institute promotes social responsibility, personal philanthropy, voluntarism and self-reliance.

For more information on the awards go to www.inyathelo.co.za or www.philanthropy.org.za or call Inyathelo -The South African Institute for Advancement on 021 465 6981


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