Caring for others has its rewards

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Community development is a collective responsibility.

The best illustration of this crucial nation-building exercise can be found in the work of the Sowetan , SABC and Old Mutual Community Builder of the Year Awards competition.

Conceived by the late editor-in-chief of Sowetan, Aggrey Klaaste, in 1991, the awards acknowledge men and women who unselfishly give their time and talent to improve the quality of the lives of others in their communities. The awards also highlight how volunteers' efforts can inspire people to become part of the nation-building process.

Sowetan, the SABC and the Old Mutual's valuable allies, whose involvement has enhanced the relevance of the awards, are the social development and services departments of the nine provinces.

Nominations will be submitted this month of people who have initiated community development projects in education, early childhood development, youth development, health, sport and recreation, crime prevention, environmental awareness and agriculture, and have been running them successfully for a minimum of two years.

Corporate nominations come from emerging companies with an annual turnover of R5 million or less and from established companies with an annual turnover exceeding R5 million.

Maria Visagie, head of the Oasis skills development project in Upington, Northern Cape, was the senior category and overall winner last year .

Zalisile Marwanqana, of the Eastern Cape, was last year's adult category winner. He runs the Sweet African Cultural Development Group.

The youth category winner last year, Daniel Mashimbye, of Limpopo, is the leader of the Ndlandlamuka Institute for Sustainable Development.

The group category accolade went to Jacobus Pansegrouw, of the Western Cape, who works for Group of Hope, which helps prisoners at Brandvlei prison.