Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Hundreds of people from across the country gathered at the Cape Town Artscape Theatre Centre on Friday night to witness the inaugural Imagine Awards which were held to recognise role players in social change.

The awards recognise individuals, organisations and institutions involved in initiatives aimed at making a social impact in various sectors.

Representatives from civil society organisations, national and local government officials and members of the public attended the event.

The Survé Philanthropies, the private foundation which houses several of the Survé family’s philanthropic initiatives, announced the launch of the Imagine Awards earlier this month.

Nearly 100 nominations were received from across the country. Of these, 33 individuals and organisations made it to the shortlist in various categories, including arts and culture; disability; technology; human rights; media; education; women; children and poverty alleviation.

Twelve special awards were conferred on individuals who made a contribution to social justice. The recipients of the Imagine Awards will be assisted with funding towards their respective initiatives.

Maxwell Moss works with the fishing communities on the West Coast to ensure job-creation opportunities. 

The winners were:

Arts and CultureEducational Art

The recipient of this award is Catherina Rieper, the Chief Operating officer for Lalela, an organisation which provides educational arts for at- risk youth. Established eight years ago, based in Hout Bay and operating across 11 schools, Lalela has expanded from working with 20 students to over 4800 students in 2018. Lalela has proven that exposure to the arts transforms at-risk youth into innovative adults filled with potential.

Arts and Culture: Music Development

The Little Giants was established in 1999 by George Werner and Ezra Ngcukana. More than 200 youth have been provided with an opportunity to develop their musical talent. Many have pursued successful careers in music including Shaun Johannes, Darren English and Lwanda Gogwana. In 2019, The Little Giants will celebrate their 20 th anniversary and showcase their impact through music.

The Kronendal Music Academy was formed in 2007 to provide music education to Hout Bay’s impoverished communities. KMA contributes to improving the fabric of our society by turning our children’s creative potential into assets to reduce despair and build bridges. In 2019 KMA will starting a pilot programme of the Schools Music Department Project, reintroducing music as a school subject.

Arts and CultureArts and Culture

The BlaqPearl Foundation which is based in Mitchells Plain was established to support young people, through programmes using arts, literature and sport to break the cycle of drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and gangsterism so prevalent on the Cape Flats. They are taught social and practical skills to create tangible products to sustain themselves.

Janine Overmeyer from the Blaq Pearl Foundation.


Since 2013, the Guardian Angel Educational Environmental Entrepreneurial Intrapreneurial Network or GAEEIN, in collaboration with the University of the Western Cape’s Social Work faculty, has supported children at schools in Manenberg. Through their intervention, at-risk learners of crime, gangsterism and teenage pregnancy, are able to realise their potential.

ChildrenYoung Person to Watch

Kwakho Mamputa is our youngest recipient, at only 8 years old. She is commended for her efforts to improve the lives of those around her. Kwako volunteers her time to collect donations for a soup kitchen in Khayelitsha and is an inspiration to many young children in her community.

Disability: Infrastructure support

The Friends Day Centre in Maitland is an NGO which has grown into a school and care facility for up to 120 learners with severe and profound disabilities. Those receiving treatment range between the ages of two and 46 years. The facility has expanded over the years to include 10 classrooms, a physiotherapy room and a sensory room. The most significant fact is that they do not have a cut off age and so learners and their families do not need to find alternative places after the age of 18 for example.

Disability: Deaf Awareness and Outreach

Jabaar Mohamed is a true champion for deaf awareness and is advocating for sign language to be acknowledged as an official language. He is also actively involved in early Intervention programmes, psycho-social support services to deaf individuals and their families including group therapy and life skills workshops. He also facilitates job placement programmes for Deaf individuals and advocates for language support such as the interpretation of policies and procedures for deaf people in courts.

Disability: Arts & Culture

Nadine Mackenzie is part of the UNMUTE Dance Company management team and a dancer. She has overcome and triumphed over several major obstacles and setbacks in her young life. Her zest for life and work ethic are her most admirable traits and she does not allow anything to hold her back from achieving that which she has set her mind to. She deserves to be singled out as an outstanding woman of courage and most certainly is a role model of note to not only disabled persons, but abled bodies persons could benefit from taking a page out of her life story.

EDUCATION: Social Justice

Grant Edmond founded Just Grace in 2013, to create measurable and long-lasting transformation in the community of Langa. The organisation runs a holistic education programme at all four high schools in Langa, which includes academic support, mentoring, computer training and career guidance. In 2016 and 2017, their participants produced a 100% matric pass rate.

EDUCATION: Early childhood development

Mdebuka Mthwazi, the executive director of Sikhula Sonke Early Childhood Development is commended for his work in this Non-Profit Organisation. Sikhula Sonke enables access to early childhood development services for more than seven communities in Khayelitsha. They provide opportunities in the informal settlement, through programmes in public spaces, as well as in people’s homes. Sikhula Sonke employs 33 people and 12 youth volunteers and offers training to preschool teachers.


The Hospital Welfare & Muslim Educational Movement was established in 1942 to support foreign seamen admitted to Somerset Hospital. Today the Movement supervises the halaal kitchens at all the major hospitals. The Education Fund was launched in 1972, with “Education for Liberation” as its vision. The Fund enables students from disadvantaged communities to pursue tertiary studies. Despite many obstacles during apartheid, the Movement continued its work, including encouraging women to pursue higher education. To date, it has funded more than 5 000 students.


Wilmot Arendse is commended for his work towards a cleaner and greener and environmentally-friendly community in Bonteheuwel. The Bonteheuwel Environmental Forum have set up activities such as food gardens, urban greening and anti-poverty projects.


Lillian Masebenza is commended for her work as founding director of Mhani Gingi. It is an organisation which has been promoting sustainable gardening and social entrepreneurship since 2004, amongst women, the elderly and individuals with disabilities. Mhani Gingi has developed a centre of excellence showcasing Tunnel farming and developed hanging (vertical) gardens which are convenient for physically disabled people.


Teri Kruger is recognised for her contribution to addressing environmental and socio-economic issues. She has worked in wilderness and conservation and has been actively involved in Child Safe – an organisation that campaigns against motor-vehicle accidents, drowning and burns, which are the leading causes of death among children in South Africa.

HEALTH: Innovation

Sizwe Nzima is commended for his innovative contribution to primary healthcare through his chronic medication bicycle delivery app. To date, Iyeza Health has delivered over 120 000 parcels of chronic medication to 33 primary clinic sites in Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Macassar.

HEALTH: Primary Healthcare

The Cipla Foundation’s Sha’p Left is commended for its patient-centred, primary healthcare service. Sha’p Left focuses on enterprise development, through setting up nurses with their own businesses. They offer cost-conscious, conveniently-located healthcare to low income groups.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Vulnerable children

Debbie Wybrow, founder and president of Wandisa Adoption Agency and founder of the Bayakhanya Project is commended for her work in placing vulnerable children in caring homes and for advocating justice for children and promoting their basic right to grow up in a loving and safe home.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Legal rights

David Sicelo Viti is commended for his work providing legal advice services to the residents of Langa and surrounding areas through the Langa Community Advice Services, which he founded. He has more than 40 years of experience as a paralegal case worker and is committed to assisting the public with access to information and improving awareness and education about their rights.


Felicity Guest received 29 nominations, which is a testimony to the importance of her work. She has helped thousands of women who face difficulties in obtaining maintenance for their children through her organisation, Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa.

MEDIA: Rural Development

Motivated by the need to create a platform for role models and positive influencers in society, Khalil Aleker created a social media platform AccidentalMuslims.com to showcase leaders – current and future – local and international, in their field or career or life in general, to inspire followers to live with purpose by sharing their thought-provoking insights.

MEDIA: Social Media

Headed up by three experienced female media practitioners, Ikasi Creative Media presents skills training and development programmes in rural communities for the film, television and digital media industry. This culminates in job placement and entrepreneurial development.

POVERTY ALLEVIATION: Community Development

In this category we acknowledge the South Africa Soong Ching Ling foundation which was established in 2009. The foundation is the largest charity of Chinese and overseas Chinese in South Africa, and the only one of its kind in Africa. Apart from annual donations of food, clothing and school supplies, it also built an orphanage in Philippi.


Inspired by the challenges that she faced as a young woman, Basha Taylor founded Women and Beyond in 2007. The organisation provides assistance to families and in particular, women, affected by substance abuse, poverty, domestic violence and mental and physical disabilities and chronic or terminal illness.


Lisa Illingworth founded Future Proof, an organisation that uses experienced entrepreneurs as coaches to train and activate entrepreneurial thinking and action amongst emerging entrepreneurs. This is done via face to face lessons supported by online learning resources and the provision of a start up starter kit.


Through an innovative Surf Therapy programme, Tim Conibear and his team from Waves for Change, have enabled hundreds of vulnerable and differently-abled children to regain their confidence, improve peer relationships, communication and social interaction and develop better coping skills. They started with two surf therapy sites and today operate 5 sites reaching about 1000 children per week.


Since joining the Hanover Park Cricket Club in 2014, Yusuf Ashraf Allie has made a huge difference in growing this Cape Flats cricket club. Under his leadership, the club today has an anchor sponsor, a women’s team, over 100 members, offers cricket programmes at several schools, produced provincial and national players, hosted mini cricket festivals and successfully fundraised to take groups of young players on several overseas tours.


Jacques Sibomana, the founder of Kuba, is commended for his work in empowering small, informal business owners. Kuba is a digital platform which partners small and large businesses with each other thereby contributing towards socio-economic development.

WOMEN: Gender-based violence

Elizabeth Petersen is the Executive Director of the South African Faith & Family Institute (SAFFI) which aims to build the capacity of religious leaders and faith communities to address issues of gender-based violence in our communities and become catalysts for change. SAFFI plays an important role in promoting a coordinated, multi-sectoral, culturally-competent restorative justice response to violence against women and children.

WOMEN: Gender-based violence

Mosaic Training Centre and Healing Services has spent 25 years providing free educational and support services for women affected by domestic violence. Trained community workers offer comprehensive assistance to survivors. A booklet explaining court procedures was created, and Mosaic Court Support Desks have been established at 14 Courts in Cape Town and 2 in Gauteng. They also offer services to men and male youth. Mosaic provides 24-hour counseling support services to sexual violence survivors at four Thuthuzela Care Centres. They launch their “Pieces-to-Peace” campaign in 2019.

WOMEN: Gender-based violence

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children was opened in 1999, in response to the high rates of violence against women and children on the Cape Flats. The first one-stop centre of its kind in South Africa, it provides essential, cost-free services 365 days a year to abused women and children, employing a comprehensive range of services for the effective treatment and prevention of violence against women and children.

The South Africa Soong Ching Ling Foundation is the largest Chinese charity in South Africa and the only one of its kind in Africa.

A number of special recognition awards were conferred on, among others:

Special recognition: Social Justice

Conferred posthumously on JOHNNY ISSEL

Johnny Issel was one of the greatest heroes in our struggle against apartheid. He was a trade unionist, a grassroots activist, an Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) commander and above all, a special human being who dedicated his life to selfless service others. This award is conferred on him, posthumously, for his community activism In fighting for our democracy, the plight of the poor and for his inspiration to many young activists in South Africa today.

Conferred posthumously on JUDGE ESSA MOOSA

Known as the “people’s lawyer”, Essa Moosa contributed greatly to our country in numerous ways. He was a human rights lawyer who challenged apartheid violations such as detention without trial. He played a vital role in the establishment of our democracy, gave unselfishly of his time and generously opened the door to his law firm Essa Moosa and Associates to assist political prisoners and their families.

Conferred posthumously on OSCAR MPETHA

Oscar Mpetha was a valiant and brave fighter in the struggle. He was a trade unionists and political activist and played a major role in the launch the UDF. de Oscar was banned and harassed under the apartheid regime but carried on working during difficult circumstances. Despite his extremely poor health – both his legs were amputated as a result of severe diabetes - he continued to travel and speak throughout the country.


Wallace and Dolly Mgoqi played a significant role in providing legal support and advice to hundreds of people. They receive this award for their work as community activists and providing legal support and assistance at the Legal Resources Centre. A township in the northern suburbs, Wallacedene, has been named after Wallace in recognition of his contribution to that community.


Louis Moholo is of the legends on the South African and British jazz scene. A drummer, he was a member of the Brotherhood of Breath, a big band comprising several SA exiles based in Britain. He formed Viva la Black, a 9-piece multiracial band which  became the first group to tour SA, defying apartheid laws. He is honoured for his contribution to the freedom of South Africa through music and the development of music in the townships. His wife Mpumi stood by his side throughout his journey.


Mildred Leseia has been and still is a champion for women’s rights and equality especially in communities. She is a community activist who continues to champion the cause for women and equality especially in the township areas. She was actively involved in the Federation of South African Women which was formed to unite women in the fight to end discrimination against women and in particular, black women.


Dr Gordon Mzi Dilima unselfishly gave his time to provide healthcare for detainees and political prisoners, especially in the Eastern Cape, which experienced the worse possible time in the struggle. Gordon helped many detainees who were brutally tortured and who received no medical care while in detention. Gordon, today you are honoured for your compassion, your role in the struggle and commitment and dedication to social justice. Please join us on stage.


Maxwell Moss has worked tirelessly in developing semi-rural and urban communities of Saldanaha, along the West Coast. In particular, he works with the fishing communities to ensure job-creation opportunities and he is a staunch advocate for the rights of fishers and their families. Despite being retired and in a wheelchair, Maxwell still plays an active roll in lobbying the fisher community who have limited rights and living in poverty.


Roseberry Sonto is being recognised for his work during the struggle and in particular, his role in mobilizing young people to support the United Democratic Front. Roseberry Sonto is also known for driving Nelson Mandela to freedom, literary. He was the driver of the Toyota Cressida in which Nelson Mandela drove from Victor Verster prison on 11 February 1990.


Denis Goldberg was active in the struggle against apartheid and was imprisoned along with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu and others - commonly known as the Rivonia Trialists. His entire life has been one lived in dedication to the cause for freedom and justice in South Africa and earlier this year, he spoke out strongly as an advocate for social cohesion. 


Zubeida Jaffer, a key figure in the anti-apartheid and trade union movement, is being honoured for the role she played in documenting the struggle against apartheid including the police brutality on the Cape Flats which led to her being detained, tortured and poisoned. Zubeida is in an award-winning South African journalist and one of the most senior black women on the South African media scene. Apart from being a seasoned author of several thought-provoking books, she is also a mentor, teacher and guide to many young African journalists. Her book, Our Generation, which tells the story of her journey during the turbulent years.


Professor Nomvula Mtetwa has done phenomenal work in promoting Arts and Culture over many decades. Working in communities during the Apartheid era, during the time of forced removals, she worked for families who were brutally uprooted from areas like Athlone, Kensington, Simons Town and Tokai. In 2004 Prof Mtetwa established the Community Plough Back Movement (CPBM) in Guguletu. Now operating across Guguletu, Langa and Khayelitsha, Prof Mtetwa’s work has impacted the lives of thousands and developed their talent and skills to flourish.

Special recognition: Transformation and Empowerment


Khalid Abdulla has played a significant role in the growth of black business in SA and the development of human capital in these businesses. He has been acknowledged and awarded by his peers and the industry for giving guidance and leadership to grow junior and middle management and develop a better trained and empowered work force. He is the recipient of several national and international Business Leadership awards. The desire to repay his family’s dedication and support over the long years of education and struggle he experienced, starting out on his long and successful business career, keeps him excelling and leading by example in everything he turns his hand.


Ambassador Harold Doley Jr is the first African American to own a seat on the NYSE. He was an NYSE floor broker, investment banker, founding member of the US-Africa Chamber of Commerce, and chairperson of the investment committee of the private equity Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund. He remains keenly in tune with Africa and he has invested in a range of sectors, saying in that way there is a greater impact on economic development. He has an extensive track record of community and public service, primarily focusing on education. He challenged Wall Street for its recommendation of De Beers stock during the period of sanctions against South Africa. This resulted in the buy recommendation of De Beers being removed.

African News Agency and IOL