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The title winners of the 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 (23 Saturday July 2011) in Johannesburg.
Dr Brigalia Bam / Shona McDonald / Ednah Zulu / Whitey Basson: CEO Shoprite group of companies / Rosalia Mashale /Dr Nobulembu Mwanda / Dr Elmi Muller
They are Rosalia Mashale who received the Youth Mover Award; Shona McDonald the Socio-Economic Business Developers Award, Dr Nobulembu Mwanda the Good Neighbours Against Crime Award, Dr Elmi Muller the Health Care-Givers Award and Ednah Zulu received the Award in the Educators Category.
Dr Brigalia Bam was honoured with the 2011 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award after the public nominated her this year as the esteemed South African who during her lifetime has inspired generations and has had an impact on the future of many fellow South Africans during her lifetime.
They accepted their awards at a dazzling event held in celebration of women and their role in the future of South Africa at Emperors Palace in Gauteng. It will be broadcast during prime time on Monday, 8 August 2011 on M-Net. The programme will be re-broadcast on National Women's Day, 09 August 2011.
Rosalia Mashale is the founder of the Baphumelele Education Centre and Children's Home in Khayelitsha one of South Africa's most marginalised and poverty-stricken township in South Africa, where Mashale or better known as Mama Rosie cares for hundreds of abandoned and orphaned children from infants to 18-year-olds and takes care of teenagers infected with HIV/Aids.
Receiving the Youth Movers Award Mashale said: "No words can truly express my happiness winning this Award! It means that I will now be able to help more vulnerable, abandoned, HIV-Aids infected, and orphaned children. Importantly more doors of employment will also be opened for my community."
Shona McDonald has built a business from nothing into a multi-million enterprise which has received numerous national and international awards for the impact it has had on the lives of people with disabilities in South Africa, enabling them to take their rightful place as part of society.
This visionary businesswoman manufactured her first South African appropriate modular posture support buggy nearly 20 years ago to improve the quality of life of children living with severe disabilities and then went on to build a successful business around it.
Receiving the Socio-Economic Business Developers Award McDonald said: "Over 500 000 children and young adults with mobility disabilities living in South Africa do not have access to appropriate wheelchairs and accessible community based seating support services.
"This shortage of appropriate wheelchairs results in unnecessary, costly and devastating health and social outcomes for both the wheelchair users and their families who support them.
"Having received this coveted Award will help us raise awareness and increase our ability to provide more training for parents, caregivers, teachers and rehabilitation workers, making sure that both the public and our health care professionals know that without the right type of wheelchair, one that fits the child correctly, and suits the environment in which it will be used will ensure equal access to opportunities for people with mobility disabilities.
"Having spent over 20 years building Shonaquip, a social enterprise, as a tool to drive positive change in the field of appropriate wheelchair provision in under resourced regions, I now realise that I need to reach further.
"I need to explore ways to shift the historical contravention of human rights of people living with disabilities from its entrenchment in charitable giving and pity to become part of the moral concerns of mainstream society and establish an inclusive footprint across the globe.
"And for this reason I am delighted that Shoprite Checkers has recognised the impact that a social enterprise can have as a powerful driver of sustainable social change"
Dr Nobulembu Mwanda is a medical doctor and a pioneer in the field of prevention and holistic management of child abuse, a deep-rooted problem that is under reported in South African society.
Having seen the devastating effects of child sexual abuse and the severe lack of resources and skills to deal with this difficult medical and social problem, Dr Mwanda decided to look at ways to prevent the scourge in the first instance but also to provide medical assessments and social support for the victims as well as their families.
Receiving the Good Neighbours Against Crime Award Dr Mwanda said: "The past eleven years have been long and arduous, so winning tonight is an honour and an affirmation for myself and our work.
"The great exposure will provide both the possibility of integration into the greater body of work that seeks to prevent child and woman abuse in our country, as well as the requisite resources to achieve this.
"It will help us to consolidate all the achievements and milestones we have reached so far. Lastly, it will cast the spotlight on child abuse, sadly a blind spot in our society."
Dr Elmi Muller is a pioneer in the medical field, who with her transplant team, were the first in the world to transplant a kidney from a HIV-positive donor to a HIV-positive recipient. She carried out this historic transplant in October 2008 and has since performed nine similar procedures.
Receiving the Health Care-Givers Award Dr Muller said: "I hope winning this Award will help to stimulate public consciousness about transplantation in general. I believe it will also make a concrete difference in the lives of the patients to whom I am able to offer treatment for terminal conditions.
"It also gives me the opportunity to engage with the public on two matters which are of great concern for public health in South Africa. Both these issues are still highly stigmatised in our country.
"The first is organ donation in general and the willingness of individuals and families to consider organ donation in the right circumstances. As a transplant surgeon I am acutely aware of how many lives could be saved if the public understood the social and medical issues surrounding transplantation better. The second issue is HIV disease.
"People might be different when it comes to education, money, opportunities and health, but we also have many things in common: experiences of pain and suffering, sadness and fear, love and joy.
"Another attribute we share is our need for hope in dire circumstances. My HIV transplantation project is about giving people hope: people with organ failure and people with HIV.
Ednah Zulu is the first principal of the Ngqengelele High School in a small village, Mahlabathini in deep rural KwaZulu Natal. She is a courageous woman who took up a challenge to transform a one classroom teaching facility into a high school that is awarded year after year for its matric pass rate and excellence.
Zulu upgraded the teaching facility from having one classroom, one grade and no toilets to a school that now has 10 classrooms, proper toilet facilities and an administration block. However, most importantly this school has been able to achieve outstanding results in the national matric examinations with an overall pass rate that varies between 70% and 80%.
Receiving the Educators Award Zulu said: "Winning this Award means that the work I have done over so many years has finally been recognised in a special way.
"It is wonderful that the impact it has had on the lives of our learners and community is now seen by the whole of South Africa.
"I will now be able to build a library, a media centre and or a laboratory for our learners to have a better education and a better future."
Each of the category winners received R30 000 in individual prize money while the Shoprite Group of Companies will also give R100 000 to the work of each of the winners to impact positively on the future of the country. To ensure sustainability of this work the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award has partnered with the WHEAT Women's Fund to help her manage the investment.
The Shoprite Group of Companies also gave R100 000 to the LifeTime Achievement Award winner Dr Bam to donate to an organisation and cause she believes is finding solutions for those critical matters affecting the future of the people of our country. She said she would ask for the donation to go to Goqwana Pre-School in the Eastern Cape which her mother founded.
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