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WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD (article first published : 2005-07-18)

Four women from Gauteng and the Western Cape who have changed the lives of South Africans using music, film, the theatre and media have been selected as finalists in the Arts, Culture and Communications category of the prestigious Shoprite Checkers/SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award.

The finalists’ achievements offer a voice to people with disabilities, give hope to children living on the streets and put South African song and dance on the world’s stages.

The winner of the Arts, Culture and Communications category of the 2005 Shoprite Checkers / SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award will be selected from the following outstanding achievers:

Julia Moloi has overcome her own disability to become the founder and first editor of the Johannesburg-based We Are Capable, a magazine for people with disabilities. A regular contributor to television and radio programmes, Ms Moloi launched her publication in 2003 and has grown its readership to almost 10,000. We Are Capable challenges those with disabilities to focus on improving their lives themselves and Ms Moloi intends increasing the magazine’s distribution so that there are offices in each of the nine provinces within the next year.

Linzi Thomas is inspired and stimulated by the strength, courage, determination and creativity present in South Africa’s street youth. Her resolve is not just to provide food and shelter, but instead deliver a structure that empowers these youth and realises their potential. She is the founder and director of the MyLife Project, which offers a mentorship and empowerment process that uses role models and leaders. Ms Thomas has joined forces with advertising agencies, artists and music producers worldwide to bring the attention of the street children to local and international communities. MyLife is in production on a documentary that focuses on MK, a MyLife director and youth leader who is in London working with renowned chef Jamie Oliver. MyLife Project has set up its first pilot-house that has taken in 20 youth, all of whom are paying rent.

Thembi Nyandeni and Todd Twala have put South African music on the world’s stages with the internationally successful Umoja, a multi award-winning production that has won accolades for costume design and musical production. This vibrant celebration of song and dance has been playing to audiences locally and internationally for four years and, created by Ms Nyandeni and Ms Twala, it has played an integral role in furthering young talent. From underprivileged backgrounds, Ms Nyandeni and Ms Twala have seen Umoja give its young dancers and musicians a new lease on life and the motivation to become successful. Ten of their rising stars have gone on to perform in The Lion King and Footsteps. The Johannesburg-based team’s most recent achievement is the purchase of the Victory Theatre as a "home base" for the children.

A major initiative for National Women’s Day, the Shoprite Checkers/SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award identifies and pays tribute to the most exceptional and achieving women in South Africa who have not only achieved success in their own respective fields but who have made a tangible difference in communities and society as a whole.

In celebrating its 10th anniversary the Award will honour seven winners in the following categories: arts, culture and communications; business entrepreneurs; education; health; science and technology; social welfare; and sport. The overall winner will be selected from one of these seven category winners. Profiles of the achievements of these women will be broadcast on SABC 2 every evening after the Afrikaans and Sotho News starting on July 18 2005.

Each of the seven category winners of the 2005 Shoprite Checkers/SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award will receive R10,000 in prize money, while the overall winner will receive R30,000 in prize money. The Award culminates at the end of July with a spectacular gala ceremony in the Mother City to announce the winners. This dazzling event will be broadcast at 21h00 on SABC 2 on August 9 (National Women’s Day) and re-broadcast on August 13 at 10h00.

South African Airways will for the fifth year running be the official carrier of the Shoprite Checkers / SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award while Sun International’s flagship Table Bay Hotel will host the finalists and judges in Cape Town.




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