The Zimbabwe Excellence Awards initiated last year by the Cape Town based Businessman Julius Shamu to recognise and acknowledge the Zimbabweans based in South Africa who are flying the Zimbabwean and South African flags high. A leader who put the needs of others first before his own needs.
The idea is mainly to encourage a spirit of togetherness and recognition and mostly for motivation and inspiration to the rest of the community. When we introduced the event last year, people were sceptical because they have had lots of disappointments in the past with promises of events of this nature only to be cancelled at the last minute. Nonetheless the event was well attended and people ended up standing at the bar because the venue was full. The awards are very important to everyone as they seek to award and celebrate the outstanding individuals and companies who would have not have a chance of someone saying thank you for flying the Zimbabwean flag high, for someone to say thank you for contributing positively to the development of the City of Cape Town and South Africa as a whole, for someone to say thank you for being an inspiration to the rest of the community.
Last year we had 7 categories and this year we have added 3 more to make the awards more inclusive and these are Female entrepreneur of the year, young entrepreneur of the year and the Executive Directors award for the best Matriculant student.
Zimbabweans in Cape Town lost one of the youngest and first ever nominee of the Entertainment Personality of the year award in February 2015at the age of 21. We lost the charismatic, energetic and charming Palmer T. Vushe who was a member of Ruffkurt Entertainment. There’s no doubt that Palmer was a people’s person as witnessed by the massive crowd who came to his memorial and the condolences.
As a result we decided to honour his legacy and rename our Entertainment category after his name. So we renamed it the Palmer T. Vushe Entertainment Personality of the year award.
Last year the awards were hosted by big brother contestant Pokello Nare and the host and MC for 2016 Zim Excellence awards is none other than Zifm talk show host and MC Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa.
Some of our invited guests this year include The Minister of Economic Opportunities Responsible for Agriculture, Economic Development & Tourism Mr Alan Winde, Cape Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mr Sid Piemer, our Cape Town Consular General Mr Bonniface Mugobogobo among other notable Cape Town Business fraternity.
We are more excited this year because the Dean of African Diplomats at the African Union Secretariat recommended our Excellence Awards Event to Dr Benjamin Bluwey who was addressing the Commonwealth Youth Summit in Pretoria at the time to attend our event. Dr Bluwey is the Executive Director of the Breaking Barriers Africa Project. He has a passion for entrepreneurship enhancement. A winner of 12 awards, his zeal for entrepreneurship development has seen him working with governments across Africa and the Commonwealth group of nations in policy development.
We do face a lot of challenges and criticism for the awards especially from individuals and companies who would have not made the mark, companies who would not have made it through to the nominee’s stage and some who will just criticize the event and the procedures used.
Last year we a panel of judges who selected the winners from each category and a few individuals were not happy and suggested we introduced the voting system. We heeded the call and saw it as an inclusive idea as it would allow the populace the opportunity to participate through a voting process. We introduced the voting system and the individuals were still not happy as they wanted to see the real-time results of voting. We did not agree to that as it would have rendered the awards event a joke. There is no way in the world where people see the results of the voting process before being announced. It just defeats the whole process of element of surprise and people dressing up to go and celebrate.
Some even take it to social media seeking sympathisers and trying to intimidate us but we remain resilient in our quest to fulfil our mandate of rewarding excellence.
My message is, as African we should not try and sabotage each other. We should not try and put each other down. We should embrace each other, support each other and embrace diversity and unity, only then we can emancipate ourselves.