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UJ: South African icons honoured at Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award

A visionary businessman, a legendary musician and a human rights lawyer and activist, were acknowledged by the Council of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), with the Ellen Kuzwayo Award, for their outstanding contribution in the higher education sector on Wednesday, 28 March 2018.

The Council of the University, annually bestow this award to individuals who, in the estimation of the Council, demonstrates sustained and exceptional contributions beyond the confines of teaching and research.

“These individuals, over an extended period of time, promoted 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,” said Mr Mike Teke, the Chairperson of UJ Council.

The 2018 Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award recipients were:

Dr Raymand Ackerman for his visionary leadership and entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavours.

Dr Ackerman is a visionary South African businessman who stood up to his nation’s repressive apartheid government. He currently is the retired chair of the international retail establishment Pick n Pay, a highly regarded retailer employing more than 50,000 people in more than 1,000 stores across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Under his leadership, Pick n Pay has played a valuable role in the economic and social development of South Africa over the last five decades. Pick n Pay is a strong brand because of its high-quality food, clothing, pharmacy and general merchandise offerings and also because of the genuine commitment of Dr Ackerman and his family to make life better for customers, employees and the communities in which Pick n Pay stores are located.

By the 1970s, Dr Ackerman and his wife, Wendy, along with their four children, established their first philanthropy, the Ackerman Family Educational Trust by donating two percent of their personal shares to the foundation. Dividends from these shares were then allocated to fund various educational causes. Recipients of the Ackerman Family Educational Trust include roughly 60 students each year, who receive scholarships for tertiary education, and educational organisations such as READ Educational Trust and institutions for mentally and physically disabled people. Dr Ackerman is also committed to charitable initiatives through the Raymond and Wendy Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation and the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development at the University of Cape Town and UJ.

Mr Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse for his outstanding contribution to African arts and culture.

Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse is one of South Africa’s, most admired and respected musicians. He is a South African music legend.

Born in Johannesburg in 1951, Mr Mabuse began playing the drums from the age of eight (8). He mastered this instrument to such an extent that he obtained the nickname “Hotstix”. His accomplishment and history with the music industry, continues to grow massively.

Mr Mabuse is an entertainer, businessperson, and father. As a music legend in the entertainment industry music lovers from Carnegie Hall, New York to Newtown Johannesburg honour his contribution.

He dropped out of school in the sixties. He had a successful tour of Zimbabwe with his group, Harari. When they returned to South Africa they came back with American-style funk, soul, and pop music, sung in Zulu and Sotho as well as English. Mr Masuse also recorded and produced for Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Sibongile Khumalo. His hit “Burn Out” in the early 1980s sold over 500,000 copies.

After dropping out of school in the 1960s, Mr Mabuse signed up at Peter Lengene Adult Basic Education Training School at Thaba-Jabula Secondary School in Klipspruit, Soweto, to study for his Matric certificate. He passed his matric in 2012 at the age of 60.

Ms Yasmin Sooka for her national and international and sustained commitment to human rights.

Ms Sooka is regarded as a leading human rights lawyer, activist and an international expert in the field of Transitional Justice, gender and international war crimes, following her work on the South African and Sierra Leonean Truth Commissions as well as her work investigating war crimes and ongoing violations in Sri Lanka including post-conflict sexual violence in Sri Lanka.

From 1995, Ms Sooka served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the Deputy Chair of the Human Rights Violations Committee and was responsible for finalizing the Commission’s final report handed over to President Mbeki in March 2003. She also chaired the Commission’s legal sub-committee between 1995 and 2001.

Ms Sooka is currently the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, an independent non-profit Foundation established in 1996 by President Mandela’s government and the European Union. The Foundation’s aims and objectives are to address the violations of the past and to build a human rights culture in South Africa. The Foundation partners with the Government of South Africa on its premier Rule of Law Programme titled “Socio-economic Justice for All (SEJA) and its past program “The Foundation is also a grant-maker to civil society in South Africa.

The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award is in the form of a specially minted medallion and an accompanying protocol.

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