And to be appreciated also brings happiness to volunteers

Community workers who give to others are happy people. They become even happier when they receive recognition, acknowledgement and rewards.

Community workers who give to others are happy people. They become even happier when they receive recognition, acknowledgement and rewards.

This was evidenced in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga at the weekend at the provincial awards gala of the 17th yearly Community Builder of the Year Awards.

The awards are sponsored and organised by SABC, Old Mutual and Sowetan, in association with the nine provincial social services departments.

Established in 1991 under the leadership of former Sowetan editor in chief, the late Aggrey Klaaste, the awards recognise people who unselfishly give of their time and talents to improve the lives of others. They also highlight how volunteers' efforts motivate and inspire others to become part of the nation-building process.

Singing songs about ilima, letsema, or collective community work, events and programmes featured prominently at the event. The joy on the faces of the provincial finalists and their colleagues told a poignant story of the triumph of selflessness over slothfulness.

As she walked up to the podium to receive her award, senior category winner Nozizwe Ngubeni sang a song lamenting the disturbing rate of women and child abuse.

Group category winner Elphas Shongwe sang about the scarcity of space for laggards in community work. Youth section winner Nonhlanhla Khoza and adult section victor Elizabeth Maziya, together with Shongwe and Ngubeni, were joined by the other eight finalists in singing the praises of the Community Builder of the Year Awards programme.

They compared the programme with a saviour looking out for hard-working, selfless, humble, inspirational and motivational individuals and groups in their communities whose good work would otherwise have gone unnoticed over the past 17 years. - Victor Mecoamere

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