Here they are – the Herald GM Citizen of the Year finalists for 2016 who have been selected for the shortlist of individuals being recognised for making a meaningful difference in our communities.
The five finalists in the open category and four in the youth category were selected after a lengthy nomination process.
This gave the community the opportunity to identify those who build and maintain projects which support the wellbeing of others over and above their normal work. The finalists in the open category are:
● Fikile Mahola – founder of an education NGO which identifies top pupils without the means to further their education and facilitates a path and funding to send them to university. In addition, his work extends to visiting and assisting needy households with young schoolchildren.
● Marietjie van der Walt – a dedicated conservationist who has used her retirement years to help children and educate people about their environment. Her work has been recognised after she initiated nature conservation and community upliftment projects around the Bay.
● Nozibele Ncunukelwa – a volunteer in numerous initiatives, whether it is keeping children in school and off the streets, nurturing their education through sport and culture, or assisting the elderly with meals and medical attention. She has worked tirelessly with a team of volunteers to assist those suffering from MDR-TB.
● Mabele Mtubeli – the initiator of a nonprofit organisation in an area where no clinic exists for medical attention. It provides basic medical care such as family planning and assessments for patients. They are then referred to clinics where they can head straight for medication without having to queue to be diagnosed.
● Mogan Segadavan – the retired schoolteacher volunteers as chairman and plays an active role in fundraising and the day-to-day management of the Malabar Home for the Aged. Under his guidance, more than 20 projects have been initiated. He is also closely involved in a number of other benevolent initiatives which assist the needy.
In an effort to engage the younger generation, the Young Citizen of the Year Award was introduced last year. Finalists are:
● Athenkosi Fani – involved in extensive children’s charity work, he has devoted time and effort in empowering the youth to enrich their communities and has also encouraged them to get involved in development programmes. He has also held several titles for his childcare work.
● Zaanri Sharp – involved in numerous outreach projects, including those focused on abused women and children, as well as feeding projects. She was also behind an initiative to help needy schools with learning materials.
● Keegan Hull – part of a community project spearheaded by Grey High School which has transformed an underprivileged northern areas school, Hillside High.
He donated a substantial amount of money to the school after he received a maths and science bursary.
● Kelsey Brooks – has been actively involved in a long list of upliftment projects to benefit needy schools and pupils, the underprivileged, the elderly and homes for the aged, as well as assisting a range of charity and health-related organisations.
Profiles of each finalist will run in The Herald from Monday to September 8, and readers will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite finalist via SMS.
Winners will be announced at a gala event at the Opera House on October 28.