By Thembelani Moyo

The Director of the Department of Correctional Services for Free State and Northern Cape region, Gustavo Wilson, won the man of the year award recently presented by the Department of Social Development in partnership with the Men’s Forum.

Running under the theme “Transforming South Africa men”, the 2016 awards ceremony was held in a fully-packed Mosaiek Theatre in Fairlands, Johannesburg. The master of ceremony was Thembi Seete of the Boom Shaka music group. The event started with a drama presentation and there was dance session by African Rhythm group.

Soon after winning, Wilson could not hide his happiness and thanked all stakeholders who made his victory possible.

“Hon MEC, HOD, wonderful people, men here, I give all glory to God. I am humbled to receive this award. It is more than me. It is not for me alone, but every man in South Africa. We are being appreciated. I thank the judges and voters for making this possible. I also thank my wife Rossie, as they say that behind every successful man there is a woman,” Wilson said

Wilson is involved in the rehabilitation of offenders and he urged men to stick together to transform South Africa.

“To all men I would like to say stop being afraid and stick together and stand up for what is right. Men must rise up and involve each other to leave a legacy and uplift South Africa spiritually, socially and economical,” he said.

Wilson was declared the winner after getting more votes than other nominees who were Martin Manamela, Rev Simphiwe Mathebula, Patrick Shai and Brain Mluleki Kondile.

Gustavo Wilson (center), his wife Rossie and the Soweto Bulletin Publisher
Gustavo Wilson (center), his wife Rossie and the Soweto Bulletin Publisher.

Among those who attended the event were the Department of Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza and the 2015 man of the year Dr Nhlanhla Nhlapho.

The MEC said the government also supports the initiative of celebrating men because they make a very important part of the society.

“I acknowledge all of you beautiful people. I would like to say thank you on behalf of the Gauteng government. Thank you Men’s Forum for organising this event. It is great to celebrate men today. Through tonight and what has happened, we are going to transform South Africa men. I want to congratulate men who have been nominated and got awards,” she said.

The Department of Social Development also presented a motivation message which was delivered by Craig Wilkson. Wilkson said the awards existed because of the creation of men and women. He said these are equal, but different and it was the difference being celebrated. He urged men to use their strength in an appropriate manner.

The Chairperson of South Africa Men’s awards, Bongani Ngomane also added that celebrating men is a good move because they have been labelled names, but choose to make a difference.

“It is nice to be here to celebrate, honour, recognise and respect men who have motivated us to say we are victory! South African men have been socially degraded and we have formed a movement to say no to abuse of women. We believe we shall achieve this and South Africa will become a harmonious and peaceful country,” he said.

South African Men of the Year Awards are held yearly and the aim is to recognise the value of good character and men who have triumphed above mediocrity and have worked hard to preserve human dignity and alleviate poverty.

The awards were motivated by the fact that the majority of South Africa’s human capital being men, is engrossed in correctional services, accused of moral degradation and frequently labeled as incompetent agents of society; due gender based violence, child abuse, corruption and other forms of social insecurities. Nominations are cast through a sms, with the code of the category, the province and the name of the individual. Brand ambassadors were appointed in all the provinces to ensure a national campaign and holistic participation.

Other winners of the 2016 awards were as follows:

Education: Lucky Mbokodo

Health: Dries Millard

Science and Technology:  Thulani Khoza

Sports: Aubrey Kekana

Arts and Culture: Lucas Makalakala

Youth development: Donald Selamolela

Community Developer: Bishop Sipho Mkhawane

Leadership: Bongani Zwane

Entrepreneurship: Emmanuel Sir Bonoko.

Legends: Babsy Mlangeni, Bruce Fordyce, Buti Msiza and Ahmed Kathrada.