The 2012 Women of the Year have been announced!

The 2012 Women of the Year have been announced!
21 July 2012
The 2012 title winners of the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award were announced this weekend (Saturday, 21 July 2012) in Johannesburg.

They are Ms Shéri Brynard who received the Youth Mover Award; Ms Nyeleti Mushwana the Socio-Economic Business Developers Award, Ms Margi Biggs the Good Neighbours Against Crime Award, Ms Tina Botha the Health Care-Givers Award and Ms Marisa van der Merwe received the Award in the Educators Category.

These exceptional and visionary women achievers were awarded at a dazzling event held in celebration of women and their role in the future of South Africa tonight (Saturday, 21 July 2012) at Emperors Palace in Gauteng.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was honoured with the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award after the public nominated him this year as the esteemed South African who during his lifetime has inspired generations and has had an impact on the future of many fellow South Africans during his lifetime.

Receiving the Award he said: “I am humbled to share a stage with exceptional South African women who have forged ahead in our society to better the future for us all! “I have always believed that women are “God’s greatest invention”. I have also said it is time for the men of the world to stop hogging positions of leadership and power, because women could not fail to do a better job. “The contribution of South African women to our liberation and our new society makes me very proud. Over many decades their hard work has often been spectacular, though sometimes taken for granted and un-acknowledged. “I want to thank the South African public who nominated me to receive the award. Your support has always encouraged and spurred me on. I dedicate this Award to all the outstanding women of our country!  Shoprite has offered me prize money, which I will put to good use by donating it to the Philani Child Health & Nutrition Project; Tygerberg Children’s Hospital Trust; Jabulani Rural Health Foundation; the
Ms Shéri Brynard who received the Youth Mover Award is a 30 year-old South African woman from Bloemfontein with Down's Syndrome. She has set new boundaries for people like her by qualifying as an assistant-teacher in a public school and becoming a motivational speaker nationally and internationally.

Receiving the Award Ms Brynard said: “I now know that my life has meaning in spite of the fact that I have Down Syndrome. I will thank the Lord that He made me just the way He did.

“I will show people that everyone who makes the best of their circumstances can be proud of who they are in spite of any disabilities or other problems.
Ms Nyeleti Mushwana was announced the winner of the Socio-Economic Business Developers Award. She is an astute businesswoman who owns and runs a multi-million hotel and conference facility in Tzaneen in Limpopo where tourism is pivotal in creating and sustaining jobs to alleviate poverty.

Receiving the Award Ms Mushwana said: “I am extremely thrilled and humbled by this honor, it is truly a recognition of the difference South African women are making out there in all socio-economic spheres of our lives to better the lives of all.

“It is incredibly flattering to be one of the honored women and I am grateful to those who came before me, paved the way and leveled the ground so it is possible for us to dream big, inspire and ignite through focus, dedication, hard work and a positive outlook towards life.

Ms Margi Biggs
who is the winner of the Good Neighbours Against Crime Award is the founding chairperson of StreetSmart SA, who has achieved remarkable success in helping homeless children of Cape Town not only in aiding beneficiaries that work with them but also by educating the community not to give money to begging children as by doing so it keeps them on the streets.

Receiving the Good Neighbours Against Crime Award Ms Biggs said: “I am most grateful for this recognition of the work we do at StreetSmart. This allows a platform from which I can explain to the public, that by giving children money when they are begging on the street, they are keeping these vulnerable children on the streets.

“While children are living on the street they are susceptible to drifting into a life of crime, of being abused and a life of suffering. There are many organisations in most towns, from Graaff-Reinet to Bloemfontein and Somerset West, and many others, which exist especially to assist these children.

Ms Tina Botha
was announced the winner of the Health Care-Givers Award. She has by turning tragedy into triumph, built the only organisation in Africa that educates and recruits potential bone marrow stem cell donors onto the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), which is a state-asset saving the lives of many hundreds of people suffering from Leukaemia or other life threatening blood disorders.

Receiving the Health Care-Givers Award Ms Botha said: “I accept this Award as an incredible honour and tribute to the work I have done at The Sunflower Fund, but not done alone. This would not have been possible without the help of an incredibly motivated and passionate team and I really need to thank them all for that support.

“It was through very tragic circumstances that I began this journey 12 years ago, on the loss of my 17 year old son Chris Corlett, and I would like to accept the award in recognition of all he went through to make things easier and give hope to future generations of leukemia sufferers.


Ms Marisa van der Merwe
who was announced the winner of the Educators Award is an accomplished South African chess player and teacher who, with a vision to effect positive change in our society, has undertaken several initiatives to promote chess as a life-changing tool in the lives of people of all ages.

Receiving the Educators Award Ms Van der Merwe said: “Winning this Award would is a tremendous honour for me and all the teachers, schools, workers and learners in the countrywide MiniChess/Moves for Life chess-educational programs.

“Above all, it will encourage women to get involved in their communities, and to persevere - however small the beginnings, because their efforts will ripple-out to empower the next generations.

Each of the category winners received R30 000 in individual prize money while the Shoprite Group of Companies will also give R100 000 to the work of each of the winners to impact positively on the future of the country. To ensure sustainability of this work the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award has partnered with the WHEAT Women’s Fund to help her manage the investment.