Crime, service delivery protests and uncertainty about the future took a back seat on Friday as pupils, teachers and schools in southern Johannesburg basked in the glory of winning prestigious awards in sport, the arts and culture.
The Gauteng department of education held its sports and culture awards at Turffontein Racecourse.
In all 84 awards were presented to deserving schools and individuals for their excellence in sport, music, poetry, indigenous games, drama, dance, oral presentations and art. About 1000 people were present.
Ester Beukes, the district's chief education specialist, congratulated the winners.
"The unsung heroes are also parents and teachers, who make sacrifices to support the pupils so that they can achieve what we are witnessing today," Beukes said.
David Dlangamandla, 31, was the best conductor and his school, Mphethi Mahlatsi, won the Best Choir in the District.
Thamaga Nelson of Thuthukani Tswelopele Primary School in Finetown was ecstatic after winning the Technical Officer of the Year award.
"I do not know what to say. I am happy we did well," he said.
Nelson's school won seven awards, including sports girl of the year and sports boy of the year.
Ortens Mazive, 13, won a gold medal in cross-country running at the national athletics competition in Bloemfontein last month.
Gabriela Bailey, 17, a Grade 11 pupil of Oakdale Secondary in Ennerdale, was the best in oral history.
Gabriela compiled a portfolio and a speech on her unsung hero, Khoisan X, a former PAC freedom fighter and general secretary. He lived in Ennerdale.
"Benny Alexander did a lot for my community by redefining the identity of the coloured people," she said.