‘It was the most meaningful, entertaining and moving event I’ve ever been to!’ So said Kevin James, CEO of Global Carbon Exchange and husband of Liesel, finalist in the Youth Movers category of the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Awards 2012. I met Kevin and Liesel at breakfast the morning after the Awards at the plush Emperors Palace where it all happened. He admitted, that it wasn’t just the fact that his own wife had made so many sacrifices to do the work she does with primary school kids battling out a childhood in the ganglands of Ocean View, it was because there were so many women doing such amazing work that he found himself crying uncontrollably as the glittering line up of entertainers sang ‘You make me feel like a natural born woman’.
I had my own tearful moment – several in fact – but what really did it was when 30 year old Down Syndrome teacher and motivator, Sheri Brynard from Bloemfontein, stumbling just a little over her thank you speech as winner in the same category as Liesel, said how pleased she was that God had made her exactly as she was. Actually I think everyone cried – and stood and clapped.
Gee, but there are some amazing women doing some incredible work in this country! The words humbling and inspirational are so totally overworked, I simply can’t use them again – but my goodness, if we could all just take just one little leaf out of some of their books, the world would sure be a better place.
Simply have to take hats off to Shoprite Checkers for recognising these women – all of them – finalists and nominees as well as winners – and giving them one hell of a glittering moment. And taking his place as an honorary woman for the night with due humility, as always, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu took the Award for Lifetime Achiever saying, ‘it’s about time men stopped hogging all the power. Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo! (You strike a woman, you strike a rock). Don’t you just love him!
…and the winners in the five categories were:
Marisa van der Merwe – Educator; Margi Biggs – Good Neighbour Against Crime; Tina Botha – Health Care-Giver; Nyeleti Mushwana – Socio-Economic Business Developer; Sheri Brynard – Youth Mover