Text by Lerato Dumse
Photos by Lindeka Qampi
Stilettos, evening dresses, shiny accessories, fresh hairdos, make up and tuxedos were the order of the night, during the third annual Mbokodo Awards.
The event took place on October 24 at The Theatre on the Track, in Kyalami Midrand, under the theme, 20 Years of Free Artistic Expression.
Amongst the dignitaries who attended the awards were South African First Lady Dr Bongi Ngema-Zuma and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.
Great performance at the opening of the 2014 Mbokodo awards…
featuring Siphokazi, Judith, Napo…
Ngema-Zuma was given a tribute from the Mbokodo awards, which she is said to have supported since its inception.
The First Lady described the Mbokodo award recipients as “the first ladies of our heritage.”
While Carol Bouwer, executive producer of the awards, said in a statement that the awards recognize the contribution that South Africans continue to make in the arts, culture and heritage sector.
She went on to say women have always been in the forefront of SAs arts and culture landscape, despite losing accolades to their male counterparts.
The adjudication committee consists of heavy names such as Prof. Pitika Ntuli, Shado Twala, Antoinette Ntuli and Lisa Combrink.
In an interview Carol says if you want to find those most deserving of the Mbokodo award it entails going out and finding suitable candidates.
She also conceded that lack of access prevents many from entering the arts, because “the scales have not leveled in South Africa.”
Judging by all the health benefits attributed to laughing, it is safe to say the audience left the theatre healthier thanks to all the laughter induced by Anele Mdoda with her sense of humor.
She was the MC for the evening alongside the incredibly beautiful and sexy Dineo Moeketsi. The pair displayed their talent in presenting and there was no dull moment with them on stage added by their different outfits that ceased to amaze.
The all female performance lineup from dancers to singers also highlighted the rich talent pool available in our country.
The winners showed genuine appreciation for their award, and surprisingly all managed to keep their acceptance speeches short and to the point.
Mmatshilo Motsei received the creative writing award, and shared some words of wisdom with fellow writers. She said, “Ben Okri says writers are dangerous when they tell the truth, he also says they are dangerous when they tell lies. To all the writers in the room, tell the truth. Do not worry about what is going to happen to you, even when you get stripped off you will be ok, I know.”
Occupying the front row seat, Marlene Le Roux negotiated her way to the stage with her leg brace and proclaimed that she stands for so many woman who are sometimes so invisible, such as rural women and women with disabilities who are often ignored. She appealed to everybody to look at those marginalized in communities.
Marlene, the first South African woman with a disability to win a Mbokodo award…
She then ululated and shouted Amandla throwing her fist in the air, before walking off stage.
“This is the first time the industry has honored me in this country” were the emotionally heartfelt words of Florence Masebe, echoed by many of the other Mbokodo award recipients.
Florence took home the women in film award, nominated alongside Lillian Dube and Harriet Gavshon.
After singing a song calling for an end to femicide and domestic abuse, Nhlanhla Nciza who won in the music category, spoke about losing her aunt to domestic violence and added, “enough is enough beautiful South Africans.”
While in her acceptance speech for her award in the category, promotion of arts in the media, Vanessa Perumal said the committee made a decision that gives hope to 1.9 billion people, 54 countries and one continent. “If we don’t share African narratives, use the media to inform change, the whole world will think we are slaves and inherit all our money and take it away.”
The Miriam Makeba Lifetime Achievement Award was given to a trio that has invested the last 50 Years to entertaining South Africans and global audiences. Mahotella Queens were given a standing ovation when they made their way on stage.
The women who are in their 70s reminisced about their starting days while still in their 20s.
If there was a prize for best award presenter at the Mbokodo awards, then Brenda Ngxoli would be most deserving, as she left the audience in stiches, with her humor as well as her modeling attempt.
Apart from the stage that could not accommodate some people with disabilities, and a few award presenters who were reading from the autocue like they were reciting, I kept clapping my hands and was filled with excitement, for so many of the deserving artists.
With the award ceremony concluded, it was time to get the party started.
The event was attended by many mature people, and the Dj had that in mind playing old school hits that kept people on their feet and dancing, including the first lady.
2014 Winners in the different categories are as follows:
Women in Indigenous Art: Lobolile Ximba
Promotion of Language and Story Telling: Antjie Krog
Creative Writing: Mmatshilo Motsei
Poetry: Nokuthula Zuma
Creative Photography: Marlene Neumann
Painting: Tracey Rose
Sculpture: Jane Alexander
Architecture: Trudi Groenewald and Debbie Preller
Creative Design: Lisebo Mokhesi
Fashion Design and Innovation: Palesa Mokubung
Dance: Burnise Silvius
Opera: Sibongile Mngoma
Theatre: Marlene Le Roux
Women In Jazz: Lindiwe Maxolo
Music: Nhlanhla Nciza
Promotion of Arts in the Media: Vanessa Perumal
Arts Ambassador: Miriam Tlali
Women in Film: Florence Masebe
Comedy: Celeste Ntuli
Miriam Makeba Achievement Award: Mahotella Queens