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Mandela gets Soweto Award

2001-02-25 09:28

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela received the Life Time Award from the first Soweto Awards in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

"I am honoured and this is a special pleasure as I have a feeling of finally coming home," he told those attending the awards ceremony in Sandton.

He said it was a great honour for him to share the awards with men and women "of such calibre".

He told the guests that Soweto, south of Johannesburg, had a special place in South African history.

"It had the warmth and humanity of people who believed in people. It was the key symbol in the fight for liberation", Madiba said.

The Soweto Awards, which will become an annual event, honours those who have their roots in Soweto.

The Legends Awards went to Gibson Kente, the "godfather" of township theatre, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, a talk show host, Aggrey Klaaste, editor of the Sowetan newspaper and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, MP and African National Congress Women's League president.

Other recipients were Tokyo Sexwale, businessman and Gauteng's first premier, Kaizer Motaung, Kaizer Chiefs soccer club managing director, Richard Maponya, first president of the Black Chamber of Commerce, now known as the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc), Joe Mafela, actor, Tamsanqa Kambule, academic and SA National Defence Force chief, General Siphiwe Nyanda.

The Achievers Awards went to trade-unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, Soweto restaurateur Wandie Ndala, boxer Dingaan Thobela, actress Nomsa Nene, and singer Mandoza Tshabalala.

The Soweto Matric Student Of The Year Award went to Dibabatso Masooa who obtained five higher grade distinctions in 2000.

Madikizela-Mandela told guests she received her reward on behalf of the youth of 1976 and all the mothers who sacrificed their husbands, sons and daughters in the liberation struggle.

"I would not be here if it was not for the footsteps of the nation behind me. The real legends lie in the graves of the struggle."

Guests were entertained by Rebecca Malope, Sibongile Khumalo and kwaito star Arthur. - Sapa