2017 Social Innovations Champions announced!

PRESS RELEASE: Social Innovations Champions announced!

Cape Town – 5 November 2017


A former Khayelitsha teacher, who started an Internet Café business from the boot of his car, has been crowned Social Entrepreneur of the Year during the prestigious Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre’s 2017 awards, held at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

Luvuyo Rani started Silulo Ulutho Technologies (SUT) in 2004 and has been offering Internet Café services, accredited computer skills training and technical support to disadvantaged communities. Rani initially identified a need for teachers to access and learn to use computers, but has since transformed SUT into a unique social enterprise that now employs 184 people in 42 branches in the Western and Eastern Cape. Five stores are owned by staff members, 23 by SUT and 19 are franchised stores. To date 29 000 students have been trained, of which 80% are women. His pioneering initiative has brought technology close to the disadvantaged communities they serve.

The awards programme, in partnership with the Distell Development Trust, uncovered 25 exceptional models of excellence and dedicated change-makers across a wide range of development sectors. After a rigorous selection and adjudications process spanning several months, SUT was selected the overall winner from a list of 64 applicants country-wide.

Waves for Change provides safe spaces, caring mentors and weekly surf therapy sessions to give vulnerable children the skills to cope with stress, regulate behaviour, build healing relationships and make positive life choices.


Impumelelo’s Executive Director, Rhoda Kadalie, said this year’s award winners are prime examples of how social innovation projects can effect substantial and sustainable change in communities. These award winning projects clearly demonstrates how government, through forming partnerships with the non-profit sector, can counter its national development challenges.” Kadalie added that many of the award winners can provide government with the blueprint to solve some of the country’s most pressing issues.

Social innovation projects that were awarded platinum at the 2017 Impumelelo award ceremony are: the Khaya Lam Land Reform project that encourages property ownership for black people by providing title deeds to residents who would have never owned houses; Waves for Change surf therapy programme; Vula Mobile, a medical referral APP to assist primary healthcare providers to access specialist advice and improve public health systems; as well as the Bright Kid Foundation Early Childhood Development Centres. Zip Zap Circus – Dare to Dream and The Buskaid Academy of String Teaching and Performance, are two arts-infused learning programmes that received Platinum honors for catapulting young people onto the national stage and creates employment through the arts.

TRAC SA addresses the Maths and Science deficits in our schools across 7 provinces.

Walking away with the gold awards are TRAC SA which address the Maths and Science deficits in our schools across 7 provinces; The Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre that has seen 1038 graduates, of which 851 have found permanent employment; FunDza aims to grow communities of readers and writers in SA; as well as Steps, an organisation that aims to eradicate clubfoot as a disability and have diverted more than 10 000 children from a life of permanent disability through the use of the non-surgical Ponseti treatment method. Indoni Dance and Leadership Academy, another arts-infused project, also walked away with a Gold award.

Chief Executive of the Distell Development Trust, Vernon de Vries, said: “The awards event once again underlined the importance of finding and recognising prize-worthy initiatives that not only exemplify best practice in one community, but that can also be replicated across many other communities.”



The Impumelelo Awards, one of the country’s leading independent awards programmes, is held annually to acknowledge the hard work of individuals and organisations that make it their mission to improve the lives of South Africans. The awards programme is one of the few mechanisms that uncover what is good and what works in South Africa. The end goal is to promote public-private partnerships, and work towards mainstreaming effective public service throughout the government at local, provincial, and national level.


The Distell Development Trust is a broad-based ownership scheme that is guided by three imperatives: Empowerment of black women in rural communities; Education and work-readiness; and Youth employment and entrepreneurship in townships. 



Social Entrepreneur of the Year (Top Award):

Silulo Ulutho Technologies – Pioneering Technological Experience in the Emerging Communities


The Buskaid String Academy of String Teaching and Performance (Soweto); Vula Mobile (National); Bright Kid Foundation: Early Childhood Development Centres (National); Waves for Change – Surf Therapy (National); The Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project (Parys); The Dare to Dream, Zip Zap Circus Trust (Cape Town).


TRAC South Africa (National); Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre (Port Elizabeth); FunDza- Growing Communities of Readers and Writers in SA (National); Indoni Academy Training Programme (Cape Town); Steps Clubfoot Care (National, Botswana & Namibia).


Umuzi, (Jeppestown); Autism Western Cape – Inclusion, Empowerment and Outreach (Western Cape); Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust – Woza Moya (Hillcrest); Thanda (Hibberdene).


Viva Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Initiative (SAPRI) (Mamelodi); Community Keepers (Cape Town area and Cape Winelands); West Coast Youth Orchestra Skills Development (West Coast); Tshepang Educare Trust – Special Needs Programme for Pre-School Children (Bethlehem).

Star Certificates:

Community Safety: Court Watching Brief Unit; (Port Elizabeth); Solar Turtle (Mqanduli Village); TEARS Foundation (Johannesburg); The Wot-If? Trust (Diepsloot).