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The 7 year-old wins big at the Mbokodo Awards!

Throngs of businesswomen/men came in large numbers to witness this year’s awards that celebrated the 20th anniversary of a constitution which is progressive towards women’s rights; the year-long 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings to protest against the extension of pass laws to women and the 70th anniversary of UNICEF defending the rights of children.

Girl of the moment. Novelist and Grade 7 pupil Michelle Nkamankeng already rubbing shoulders with SA big shot MP and UDM leader Gen Bantu Holomisa at the 2016 Mbokodo Awards, at the Inanda Polo Club-Sandton.

The gala dinner and awards ceremony had 14 categories ranging from Women in Media, Traditional and Indigenous Arts, Literature, Jazz, Visual Arts, Poetry, Fashion and Design, Shining Light, Music, Dance, Theatre, Opera, Girl Child of Promise, Lifetime Achievement and Film.

The big winner of the evening was none other than the seven year old Michelle Nkamankeng, a Sacred Heart College pupil.

The self-effacing but shy grade 2 (preparing for Grade 3 next year) is the youngest published author in the country for having published ‘The Girl Child Promise’ that won her the Mbokoko Award.

“I would like to tell the world to stop hurting us, and make this world a better and safe place for all the kids,” said Michelle, much to the standing ovation from the packed reception.

“I dedicate this award to other children who are suffering and at times go to bed without food or something to drink. Finally, would like parents to listen to us,” she said accompanied by a crack of laughter from guests.

Surprisingly, our ‘author’ has published four novels under her belt. True that when you educate a young girl, you educate the entire village!

‘Kids of today are magical’, said minister of arts & culture Nathi Mthethwa, prior to addressing guests, in reference to the 7-year old young ‘mbokodo’.

”In a year in which we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March to the Union Buildings and during a month in which we mark the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution, it is fitting that we support the Mbokodo Awards that celebrates the freedom of creativity of women in the arts, honours living artistic legends and all those women who have made an extraordinary contribution against all odds to the cultural life of our country.”

Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF South Africa’s Representative said: “UNICEF is grateful for the invitation to the Mbokodo Awards. As UNICEF is celebrating its 70th anniversary to commemorate our work for children over the last 70 years, we count on the leadership of women and the care of mothers to ensure that the world becomes a better place for children everywhere – and for every child we need your support to tackle growing inequalities and deepening cycles of poverty around the world, and in South Africa”.

UNICEF’s 70th anniversary is an opportunity to remind public audiences of children’s urgent needs and the impact of the organisation’s work — working relentlessly in some of the world’s toughest places to save lives and give hope to children in need and at risk.”

Our Ndebele Queen uGogo Esther Mahlangu was also honoured and upon her thank you speech on stage, she mesmerized guests in her European lingua. Wow…

Jealous because she has been to handful European States, whereas yours’ truly is still lagging behind, unfortunately.

Susan Shabangu, minister for Women in Office of Presidency noted that the, 1954 charter should be embraced so that the world should not forget the role women have and continue to play in emancipation of the society, economy and the world.

“The scourge of violence against women and children has gone out of hand, and we ask the world to listen to us in these unfortunate, hard times. Stop abusing us, we’re also human.”

Learning from elders. The young ‘Mbokodo’ Michelle being sandwiched by our Ndelebe Queen uGogo Esther Mahlangu (far right) and other Mbokodo Awards recipient at the awards last night.

In attendance were the First Lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma, business figures Edith Venter, Basetsana Kumalo and sister Johanna Mukoki, MP and UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa, former MTN head of communication Rich Mkhonto, former ACSA boss Monhle Hlahla, radio guru Shado Twala, renowned world ballet star Kitty Phetla, film producers, arts practitioners, musicians and celebrities.

The adjucation panel of the awards is headed by an affable Professor Pitika Ntuli.

The ‘reunited’ Boom Shaka wrapped up the evening with their yester-year hits.

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