by Bhekumuzi Mdakane
Nominations for the annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards are now open to all individuals who make it their mission to help create and sustain a loving and giving South Africa. Nominations close on Friday, 28 June.
Started in 2007 to honour those individuals who work for change, the awards are handed out in a number of categories, such as youth empowerment, health improvement, community development, lifetime achievements, media, arts, and international relations.
Individuals in the running are those who demonstrate great vision, innovation and leadership, who give back financially or strategically. In 2012, the Inyathelo Award for Children in Philanthropy was won by 12-year-old Jordan van der Walt, who founded the Just One Bag campaign. Through his campaign, he helped to put food on the table for more than a million hungry children across the country. Then in Grade 6 at St John's Primary School in Johannesburg, Jordan approached his principal with an idea - he and his school mates bring a bag of maize meal to school for the less fortunate.
Just One Bag has since collected more than 100 tonnes of maize from 50 schools, and more than 50 000 children have brought a bag of maize meal to school.
From a young motivated philanthropist to a woman who quit her job and cashed in her pension fund of R50 000 to give children a chance to better their future, the Inyathelo Awards look for people making a difference.
Bridgette Mamugubudi won the Inyathelo Award for Community Philanthropy in 2011 after she selflessly opened her home in Venda and provided shelter for teenage parents, orphans and toddlers who had been abused and abandoned by their families, or those living with HIV and Aids.
Mamugubudi started a hospice on land donated by the chief of her village and with the help of volunteers within her community, 150 children are cared for each day. There is also a primary health care service for the sick.
Nominations for this year's Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards can be submitted on the Philanthropy SA website. The closing date for nominations is Friday, 28 June. The awards will be handed out at a ceremony at the Cape Town City Hall on Tuesday, 5 November.
Last year, Inyathelo had a record number of 131 nominations. The idea for the awards came from Shelagh Gastrow in 2002, as an initiative to show gratitude to local and international philanthropists for their work in raising awareness and for helping the next person. The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards began five years later.