Mbokodo delight for Mary Twala

Mary Twala has made an immense contribution to the arts that saw her receive recognition./supplied
Mary Twala has made an immense contribution to the arts that saw her receive recognition./supplied

Mary Twala is recognised as one of the finest actresses this country has ever produced, yet these days she's known only as "Somizi Mhlongo's mom".

All the fame and success her son enjoys seems to have overshadowed her legend.

But last weekend she had her moment of glory when the Mbokodo Awards presented her with a Lifetime Achievement award.

It was an emotional moment when Mbokodo judge Vika Shipalana gave her a hug through the tears.

Twala has an impressive repertoire that straddles theatre, film and television over decades.

Nomzamo Mbatha's mother was on hand to accept her Rising Light award and spoke glowingly about her. Nomzamo was in New York for Black Girls Rock and Afropunk, as was Manthe Ribane, recipient of the Visual Arts award.

Now in its seventh year, the Mbokodo Awards honours women in the arts.

This year's event in Durban was hosted in conjunction with a high-powered summit that is also honouring the centenary of Albertina Sisulu.

The summit also boasted a line-up of speakers that included Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, Motseng CEO Ipeleng Mkhari and the first female director-general in KwaZulu-Natal since 1994, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize.

The list was topped off by US author Chloe Taylor Brown, the former supermodel who is married to a top basketball player.

Brown's transcendence talk - where she spoke about her struggle to recover from her son's drowning and how it tested her faith and will to live - left not a dry eye in the house.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu and MECs Sihle Zikalala, Bongi Sithole-Moloi and Nomusa Dube-Ncube were also present.

Local women in the arts were represented by heavyweights such as performers Gcina Mhlophe and Napo Masheane.

Mbokodo Awards creator and organiser - businesswoman Carol Bouwer - said her goal is to ensure that she plays her part with the event.

Despite the national Department of Arts and Culture withdrawing its support for the awards this year, Bouwer said the show had to go on. "I believe the support we received from the provincial (KZN) arts and culture department was constructive and added value.

"I'm most passionate about ensuring that our 'she-roes' receive the same recognition as the heroes in our nation," Bouwer added.

Below is the full list of category

Rising Light - Nomzamo Mbatha

Traditional and Indigenous Arts - Madosini

Visual Arts - Manthe Ribane

Literature - Nozizwe Cynthia Jele

Theatre - Lesedi Job

Opera - Zandile Mzazi

Humanitarian Award - Unicef

Architecture - Thozama Mputa

Music - Zoe Modiga

Media - Yolisa Phahle

Film - Moonyeenn Lee

Lifetime Achievement - Mary Twala

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