Artists, humanitarians, innovators, athletes, designers, comedians and entrepreneurs gathered at a celebration of 2021's cultural high points - the GQ Men of the Year Awards.
Now in their third year, GQ South Africa marked the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards last night at the Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff, in association with Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège.
They were co-hosted by GQ South Africa Editor-in-Chief, Molife Kumona, and broadcaster, Claire Mawisa.
Guests enjoyed performances by Siki Jo-An, Kenyan superstars, Sauti Sol and as well as the Hennessy Lifetime Achievement award recipient, the iconic Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse.
The GQ Men of the Year Awards have become one of the most important signifiers of a persons impact in the year. Unlike the Best Dressed Awards, which award personal style, the Men of the Year Awards are all about celebrating those who have made an impact in society, whether they are public figures or not.
Affectionately known as "MOTY", they are a prestigious award ceremony recognising the most intelligent and inspiring men and women who shape our cultural landscape. The award recipients are people who are exceptional, impactful, inspired and inspirational.
Insider spoke to GQ South Africa Editor-in-Chief, Molife Kumona ahead of the awards.
It's the third year of the GQ Men of the Year Awards. How much of an impact do you believe these awards have had?
I think the awards have had a significant impact in awarding and recognizing people who have had an impact on culture in different industries and have also been inspirational to their peers and others. They are important because they serve as a platform to give accolades and respect where due, and also to highlight inspirational journeys that others will resonate with and be motivated by.
I think I can safely say in the 22 years we have been around as GQ, the 2021 Men of the Year has shown how diverse we are not only as a brand in who we showcase and celebrate but also how diverse the people who shape culture are. All the people we honoured are the epitome of excellence, inspiration, groundbreaking and shapers of culture.
How was the selection process this year compared to previous years?
I think this year was more difficult because South Africans keep on raising the bar, so choosing outright winners was a very tough job for the judges. 2021 has been an exceptional year. While we were still manoeuvring a pandemic there have been a lot of significant cultural moments and a group of individuals who have excelled and inspired.
Have there been interesting individuals whose stories have surprised you?
Yes, the story of Danny Diliberto who founded Ladles of Love who was the Humanitarian of the Year in 2020 really moved me and many other people. His passion for feeding the homeless and less privileged really touched us. He makes one want to do more as a human being.
What do the men and women who are being honoured at the GQ MOTY have in common?
Their audacity to believe in their passion and careers despite setbacks and their need to make it not only about themselves.
Here are the winners of the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2021
Entertainer of the Year - Makhadzi
Musician of the Year - Focalistic
Humanitarian of the Year – Kolisi Foundation
Editor’s Special Tribute – the late Shona Ferguson (accepted by Connie Ferguson)
The Game Changers of the Year – Kgothatso Montjane and Tatjana Schoenmaker
Designer of the Year – Laduma Ngxokolo
The Industry Icon of the Year – Nick Boulton
Woman of the Year – Thuso Mbedu
Sportsperson of the Year – Ntando Mahlangu
The Standard Bank Business Leader of the Year – Theo Baloyi
The Hennessy VSOP Privilège Lifetime Achievement Award – Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse
This article was published in Sunday Insider on Nov 28, 2021