Two Nelson Mandela Bay humanitarians who are determined to make a difference in the lives of others have been honoured for their selfless contributions by being named the city’s top citizens.
At a glitzy event at the Port Elizabeth Opera House on Friday night, Mabele Mtubeli was named The Herald GM Citizen of the Year in the open category, while Grey High School pupil Keegan Hull claimed the award in the youth category.
Mtubeli was recognised for his efforts to offer basic medical care in an underprivileged community, while Keegan was praised for his involvement in community service.
Mtubeli, 34, runs a free private clinic from his mother’s house in KwaNobuhle.
He said his first reactions were shock and disbelief that the work he and the volunteers at his clinic did was being recognised.
“This award means a lot,” he said. “It is motivation to keep on doing what I am doing, working to expand services where there is need.”
Keegan, 17, worked closely with Hillside High School in Windvogel and donated R5 000 to the school from a bursary he had been awarded for excellence in maths and science in October last year.
“After winning this award, I hope there’s going to be a lot more exposure about the state of schools in underprivileged areas,” he said.
Last year, Keegan and other members of Grey’s Community Service Society took part in the ATKV Handevat project, which raises funds for schools in need. A total of R20 000 has been donated to Hillside.
The Citizen of the Year event was hosted by comedian Stuart Taylor, with performances by the NMMU choir which brought the appreciative audience to its feet.
Video clips of the nine finalists from both categories were shown and the top three in each category were selected before the final winners were announced.
General Motors manager of communications, Africa and the Middle East, Denise van Huyssteen, said the two winners were deserving.
“Both winners are very humble and genuine. [They] give us hope and a lot to believe in,” she said.
The Herald and Weekend Post editor Brett Horner said: “Our two winners embody everything Citizen of the Year stands for. Their most outstanding characteristic is selflessness and they really do put others before themselves.”
The winners each walked away with a R15 000 shopping voucher, a certificate, trophy, an iPad sponsored by General Motors and a 12-month digital subscription to The Herald and Weekend Post.
Vodacom will sponsor two gigs of data a month for 12 months for each winner to use with their iPads.