The founder of Africa’s largest disaster relief organisation, Doctor Imtiaz Sooliman, was honoured by the Council of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), with the Ellen Kuzwayo Award, for his outstanding contribution in the higher education sector on Friday, 22 November 2013.
The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award recognises outstanding contributions beyond the confines of teaching and research by individuals over an extended period of time, to promote the well-being of the higher education sector, as well as the well-being of society in respect of matters in which the University has a particular interest.
Doctor Imtiaz Sooliman, is one of three recipients of UJ’s 2013 Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award. The other recipients are motor industry icon, Mr Brand Pretorius, and respected teacher and principal of UJ Metropolitan Academy – a school that caters for selected high-school learners from disadvantaged communities who demonstrates potential success in studies at higher education institutions.
UJ Metropolitan Academy is situated in Crosby, near Brixton, Johannesburg.
Doctor Imtiaz Sooliman is a South African medical doctor who founded the Gift of The Givers Foundation in August 1992. The Foundation is a private, secular, humanitarian organisation, which to date has built an impressive profile of unreserved support for indigent, traumatised and vulnerable communities both nationally and internationally, transcending religious and cultural borders. Through Dr Sooliman’s leadership, the Foundation has grown to become widely recognised for its resolute action in alleviating the plight of disaffected and disempowered communities, by remaining rooted in the spirit and values of civic agency and human dignity. Such values are in keeping with the University’s mission and indeed, the nature and spirit of the Ellen Khuzwayo Award.
As his CV more than adequately attests, Dr. Sooliman has established an iconic brand of collaborative social responsiveness in order to empower and enable some of the vulnerable communities worldwide, whether affected by natural disaster, socio-political injustice or through symbolic violence.
Dr Sooliman’s civic activism in developing the Foundation as a neutral, operational NGO with a global outlook that focuses on providing humanaitarian aid to communities in need and his ground-breaking work on a food supplement that is used in more than 230 health care facilities across sub-Saharan Africa are admirable and richly deserving of the University’s recognition.