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Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba was among five high-profile Johannesburg residents who were honoured for their outstanding achievements and excellent contribution to their respective fields at the fifth annual Siyabakhumbula Awards at the Sandton International Convention Centre on Saturday night.

The five honourees – including Kaizer Chiefs Football Club chairman Kaizer Motaung, legendary theologian Father Alan Michael Lapsley, veteran actor Washington Sixolo and acclaimed author and former principal of Soweto Pace Commercial College Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali – were nominated by the City of Johannesburg, a long-term partner of the awards, under the “Living Legends” category. The awards were presented to all the honourees by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr. Mpho Parks Tau.

The Siyabakhumbula Awards (We Remember Them), initiated by world-acclaimed poet and top musician Mzwakhe Mbuli, essentially honours “dearly departed” prominent South Africans whose contribution had positively touched many lives.

But at the request of the City of Johannesburg, the “Living Legends” category was added to give South Africans the opportunity to honour their unsung heroes and heroines while they are still alive.

In his speech, Mayor Tau said it was unique that this year’s Siyabakhumbula Awards took place on the same day that South Africa buried three of its sporting stars – Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, Olympic champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and boxer Phindile Mwelase.

The mayor said Mashaba was nominated for the awards by the City long before he was appointed Bafana Bafana mentor. His nomination was in recognition of his excellent work with the national under-20 team, which, under his guidance and leadership, has qualified for the African Youth Championships in Senegal next year.

In his acceptance speech, Mashaba, who had earlier attended Meyiwa’s funeral in Durban, said no one’s life was guaranteed. He said he appreciated being honoured while he was still alive.

Motaung, 70, was honoured for turning a personal talent into a viable business that his club, Kaizer Chiefs, had become.

Father Lapsley was recognised for being the “voice of reason” during the 1976 Soweto uprising, which led him to being kicked out of the country by the apartheid government.

Mtshali was given recognition for his documentation of the struggle against apartheid.

Sixolo, a pioneer, was recognised for the role he played as a TV actor and comedian.
Other unsung heroes and heroines honoured on the night were:
Mzukisi Sikali, a former boxer who was brutally stabbed to death by thugs;
Ken Oosterbroek, a fearless and award-winning newspaper photographer who was killed by a stray bullet during violent clashes in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, more than 20 years ago;
Dr Abu-Baker Asvat, an activist doctor who cared for the poor and needy;
Jonas Makhubu, a founder member of Amadodana Ase Wesile;
Mary Mxadana, a co-founder of the world-acclaimed Imlonji kaNtu Choir;
Wendy Mseleku, a singer who mastered various musical genres;
Nontuthuzelo Sarah-Jane Molefe, one of the first black matrons at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital;
Manala Sarah Ndlovu, who assisted political activists by hiding their ammunition away from security police during the struggle against apartheid;
Sibongile Sokhulu, the first black woman SABC TV newsreader; and
Zenzele Mchunu, a co-founder of the popular mbaqanga group Soul Brothers.

Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Community Development Cllr Chris Vondo paid a special visit to Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung at the Kaizer Chiefs village in Naturena, on 21 November, to present him with the Siyabakhumbula - "Living Legend" award. Read the full story here: Kaizer Motaung gets prestigious award

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