Wellknown South African businessman Mr Solly Noor of Makhado and retired boxing champion Dingaan "The Rose of Soweto" Thobela were among the 19 people who were presented with honorary awards for their distinctive roles in community building, during the Calvary Honorary Awards Ceremony on Saturday.
The function was held at the Calvary Christian Church, Lwamondo, west of Thohoyandou.
The ceremony is the brainchild of Pastor AM Masakona, founder and president of the Calvary Christian Church and it is aimed at acknowledging and giving honor to veterans and achievers in various fields in life. The recipients are nominated by the Calvary Christian Church Council and Advisory Board. The recipients were chosen from different spheres, which include business, politics, religion, sports, media, community building, leadership, education, to name but a few.
Masakona told the hundreds of invited guests why the function was so important: "There is no use to honor people when they are no longer alive. This function is aimed at encouraging the recipients to work hard because God has given some kinds of talents that they must use to develop society. We want you to know that we are watching what you do while you are still alive. We are very grateful to all the recipients of the awards because they conceived the vision given to them by God. It does not matter how many times you have fallen before you become great. If the tortoise and the snail managed to walk into Noah’s ark, what about you who have special talents? While you are still alive, let the streets, stadiums and important government buildings be named after you."
World-acclaimed motivational speaker Dr Elijar Maswanganyi commended the award recipients for achieving great things in life. Maswanganyi, who has traveled around the world, said the recipients are giants who have made a mark in their lifetime because they were born to achieve. "We are all destined for great things and we will never become great unless we help our community members to achieve their goals. We understand that you are great, but you will never be powerful until you help the powerless to gain power. We will never regard you as a great leader unless you produce other distinctive leaders. You are great in order to make others great." Maswanganyi warned the award recipients not to misuse their power or fame. "God chose you to develop the community, not to look down upon other community members. God will shower you with more blessings when you use your talents effectively, for the development of your communities."
One of the recipients, Mr Solly Noor, who was recently voted South African Islamic Businessman of the Year, said he was humbled and grateful to have been chosen among the millions to receive the honorary awards. "I have received so many national and international awards in the past, but I accept this one from the bottom of my heart because it comes from my own people. I had to put aside my busy schedule to come and accept the award here today, because I understand that my own people recognize my contribution to the South African business fraternity."
Boxing legend Dingaan Thobela said: "There is nothing more interesting than being honored by your own people. Thank you, Calvary Christian Church, for recognizing me."
A journalist of Mirror, Wilson Dzebu collected his 15th award during the function. "He was honored for his endless efforts in reaching out to the communities and taking news to the people in all spheres of life with diligence and dedication," read the programme notes.
Other honored recipients and great achievers are Brigadier General Abel Nelwamondo (Military), Dr Nkhelebeni Phaswana (Education), Khosi P Kutama (Leadership), Sydney Kharivhe (Community Development), Elijar Maswanganyi (Religion), Sophie Vhengani (Religion), Rudzani Tshikovhi (Medicine), Samson Makhuvha (Education), Amie Chhaya (Community Development), Martha Makhela (Media), Dr GJ Tshifularo (Education), Dr Muraga Denga (Medicine), Musanda Ntsedzeni Bohwana (Leadership), Nditsheni Ramugondo (Education), Tovhowani Tshivhase (Politics), Dr Daniel Rambane (Education) and Bishop Nndanganeni Phaswana (Religion).