Have you nominated your great South African?

The search for the greatest South African has begun, with some likely and not-so-likely recipients being nominated already.

As can be expected, former president Nelson Mandela is leading the pack with 1 000 nominations out of 8 000 in the first week of voting.

But SABC3, which is running the Great South Africans Project, has been thrown some curve balls, with Teazers strip club owner Lolly Jackson, apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd and Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock picking up nominations.

So far a total of 400 people, including Christiaan Barnard, Brenda Fassie, Mrs Ples (the skull of a hominid found in the Cradle of Humankind) and Johnny Clegg have all been nominated.

The Great South Africans project is modelled on the acclaimed and successful BBC show Great Britons. The British public voted Sir Winston Churchill the greatest Briton of all time following a nationwide poll that attracted more than a million votes.

South Africans now have the opportunity to nominate the person they believe is the greatest.

The SABC is encouraging the voting public to think of South Africans in connection with certain criteria, such as talent, leadership, compassion, courage and impact.

"People should nominate people from various walks of life, from sportspeople to musicians, from business people to entertainers, from politicians to traditional healers," a statement read.

According to the statement, a great South African can be anyone who was born, or who has lived in South Africa, and played a significant role in the country's life and development.

Once the great South African has been selected, that person will go into a "Great Human" contest, where winners from each country will be pitted against each other. Germany, France, Canada and Russia are already running their own projects.

The public can call or send an SMS to 083 920 6933 to enter their nominations or can do so on the SABC 3 website on

www.sabc3.co.za. Nominations close on June 30.

From the nominations, the top 10 will be presented and you, the public, will vote for the greatest out of these top nominations.

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