PORT Elizabeth primary school teacher Nomonde Ntsundwana narrowly lost out on winning the educators category at this year’s prestigious Shoprite Checkers Women of The Year awards after being chosen as one of the three finalists in her category.
Ntsundwana – a teacher at Canzibe Primary School and a environmental awareness advocate in Motherwell – was a finalist alongside executive director of the South African Education and Environment Project Jane Keen and co-founder of the Moves For Life development programme Marisa van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe scooped the award at a star-studded gala event held on Saturday in Johannesburg for her programme which uses chess as a tool to enrich the lives of 20000 pupils and teachers across South Africa.
Ntsundwana said although she had not won, the experience of the weekend she spent in Johannesburg was worth it.
“I may not have won the award itself but the event was wonderful and I am so happy to have been a part of it.” She is no stranger to being nominated and winning national awards after she was given a Kudu award from SA National Parks earlier this year for her efforts in “greening” schools across Nelson Mandela Bay.
Ntsundwana said she has made valuable contacts throughout the days she spent with the 14 other nominees and will impart the knowledge gained to her the Motherwell community.
“I made a lot of contacts and received national exposure for my efforts and learnt so much from the 14 other finalists now it’s just a matter of sharing all that I’ve learnt with the people in my community”, she said.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year lifetime achievement award which is awarded through public nomination and said, via a pre-recorded video message, that it is time for women to take the driver’s seat in leadership.
“I have always believed that women are God’s greatest invention. I have also said it is time for the men of the world to stop hogging positions of leadership and power, because women cannot fail to do a better job.”
Ntsundwana and the other 14 finalists received five-star treatment during the weekend with each of them and their initiatives introduced to the hundreds of guests which included Idols judge Randall Abrahams and former marathon runner Elana Meyer at the glittering event.
Ntsundwana is in charge of Canzibe Primary School’s “Eco-School” initiative and has also extended her home gardening project to other schools, two non-governmental organisations and two churches in the Motherwell area.