Sowetan, a true builder of the nation

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Sowetan's nation-building started in 1988 - long before apartheid was dismantled.

A flagship project of the Sowetan nation-building campaign - which will celebrate 30 years next year - is the Community Builder of the Year Awards, sponsored by Sowetan, SABC and Old Mutual.

The awards encourage volunteerism and recognise the contribution of individuals, groups and institutions working to uplift their communities.

These community heroes are recognised, irrespective of race, colour or creed, in the quest to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all.

The nation-building philosophy and campaign was conceived by the former Sowetan editor-in-chief, Aggrey Klaaste, in 1988 amid opposition from both the freedom-fighting sector and the apartheid regime.

But Klaaste went ahead with his idea and he garnered support from other people within and outside South Africa.

"Black society was in tatters, the moral structure was destroyed," said Klaaste during an interview in 2003.

"And I looked at other African countries. They were all in a mess, and the people in charge were not skilled to run these countries."

He said the overall objective of the nation-building campaign was to start repairing the damage apartheid had wrought on structures within black communities across South Africa.

Klaaste died in 2004.