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Women of distinction

Three inspiring finalists who have made a difference by using the media to achieve important social objectives have been selected in the Media and Communications category of the country's premier accolade for women - South Africa's Shoprite Checkers/SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award.

Judges sifted through hundreds of nominations and selected three finalists who include a creative director at an advertising agency, an editor and a writer. The finalists in this category are Shelley Seid, Angel Jones and Tembeke Mbobo.

One of these outstanding achievers will be selected as the winner of the Media and Communications category at a gala event to announce the winners taking place on Thursday 31 July 2003. The event will be broadcast in an hour-long celebratory programme on SABC 2 at 21h00 on Saturday 9 August 2003 - National Women's Day.

The winner in the Media and Communications category will also stand the chance of winning the overall South Africa's Woman of the Year title sponsored by Shoprite Checkers and SABC 2.

Shelley Seid, editor of SA Reader has turned the reading tide in South Africa by providing an excellent niche publication for newly literate adult readers. Empowering and liberating this community, Seid has single-handedly built the publication's circulation from 9 000 to 14 000 in under two years, reaching readers who are usually ignored and neglected by most print media. She has also encouraged involvement from readers and helped them to develop their communications skills via their contributions as book reviewers, poetry writers and articles. Shelly plans to make a copy of SA Reader available to every adult reader who wants to read.

Angel Jones returned to South Africa in 2001 after a six-year stint in London with advertising agency M&C Saatchi, and her ambition to facilitate homecomings for other South Africans abroad resulted in the launch at the beginning of 2003 of, a voluntary non-profit organisation that aims to stem the brain drain. With the motto of "Come home and make it even better", Jones's Homecoming Revolution project is changing people's views on South Africa, strengthening their belief in the country and offering them advice on everything from property and jobs to schooling and bank accounts. The organisation's website receives 150 000 hits a week, proving that South Africans are indeed interested in "homecoming".

Tembeka Mbobo unearths talented writers via workshops and poetry recitations and has co-founded the Women in Writing community project which has motivated thousands of women to take up their pens and write. Organisations have used her workshops as a healing method for projects involving young people and women, and although her target group is women, she empowers all age groups and both genders to tell their stories. Mbobo has involved the Department of Arts and Culture in her writer's conferences and workshops and believes that women writers have a great contribution to make in telling South Africa's history. She is now co-editing an anthology of prose, drama and verse titled "Nawe Unakho" and is compiling the first volume of short stories by indigenous women in South Africa as well an anthology of poetry by the youth.

The ceremony will be broadcast on SABC 2 at 9pm on National Women's Day, Saturday 9 August 2003 and again at 10am on Sunday 10 August 2003. The 24 finalists and the judges will be flown to Cape Town courtesy of SAA, where they will be accommodated at Sun International's premier Table Bay Hotel. Tickets are for sale at Computicket in the Western Cape.

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