Race for prestigious Impumelelo Awards enters final stretch

PRESS RELEASE: Race for prestigious Impumelelo Awards enters final stretch

Cape Town – 17 October 2017






TWENTY-FIVE social innovation projects throughout the country have made it onto a final shortlist for the prestigious 2017 Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards, in association with the Distell Development Trust. The projects being pitted against each other have been selected from a list of 64 applicants country-wide, who are offering effective solutions to pressing service delivery challenges.

An independent judging panel has wrapped up their rigorous evaluation process, after evaluators crisscrossed the country to visit each initiative. Shortlisted applicants already presented their work to the National Selection Committee at the V&A Waterfront, in August, leaving only a few weeks before this year’s awards winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Artscape Opera House on Saturday, 4 November 2017.

Impumelelo’s Executive Director, Rhoda Kadalie, said the bulk of the finalists are from the Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) sector across the country including the Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, while the rest are from the private and government sector.

“After a rigorous vetting and selection process spanning several months, the panel will announce the award winners next month. These awards give us a unique opportunity to identify and promote a dynamic pool of talented and dedicated change-makers who strive to address a wide range of challenges plaguing disadvantaged communities,” Kadalie said.

Kadalie stressed that the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre has once again uncovered a wide range of exceptional models of excellence across a wide range of development sectors. “This year’s finalists are particularly doing exceptional work in alleviating the unemployment crisis plaguing the country,” Kadalie added.

Chief Executive of the Distell Development Trust, Vernon de Vries, said South Africa as it is today demands an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to its social challenges. “This approach, together with their can-do attitude, has ensured that the prize-winning organisations are making a positive impact in the communities where they are working,” De Vries added.

Young creatives enjoying the innovative space at the Umuzi Academy in Jeppestown, Johannesburg. Umuzi, a free media and advertising skills development project, is one of the shortlisted candidates for the 2017 Impumelelo Social Innovations Awards.

The projects include, amongst others, a national health care pilot project in Oudtshoorn; a school-based counselling service for traumatised youth; a land reform project in the Free State and Western Cape, which secures property rights for black South Africans; a national non-profit physical science intervention programme; as well as several early childhood development, sports, arts, and dance projects across the country.

The Oudtshoorn health care project launched in the community of Bridgeton is a pilot site in preparation for the full implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) which focuses on the development of a Community Care Workers (CWWs) model for rural areas. The CWWs created awareness in their community about good health-care, advised residents about the services at the local clinics, screened for specific indicator illnesses, and encourages immunization and family planning.

In the Western Cape’s low income communities, a school-based community development organisation called Community Keepers, is making an impact on the lives of traumatised youths, providing much-needed psychological services in underprivileged schools where there’s a critical lack of social workers and psychologists. There are currently one psychologist and one social worker per 40 schools and the initiative provides much-needed psychological services including counselling, therapy, and referral services to primary and high school students and teachers.

Silulo Ulutho Technologies offers accredited computer skills training, of which 80% of the graduates have been women.

Also making the cut is a Khayelitsha teacher who pioneered an initiative to bring technology close to disadvantaged communities, starting off with an Internet Café, the cutting edge entrepreneur now offers accredited computer skills training in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

The 25 finalists will be vying for the award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year, the Platinum, Gold Award, Silver or Bronze Impumelelo Innovation Award.

“Our award winners stand for excellence, dedication and passion. They are prime examples of how social innovation projects can effect substantial and sustainable change in communities,” Kadalie added.



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.



National Projects:

TRAC South Africa; FunDza- Growing Communities of Readers and Writers in SA; Bright Kid Foundation; Early Childhood Development Centres; Vula Mobile; Steps Clubfoot Care; Waves for Change – Surf Therapy (Khayelitsha, Masiphumelele, Port Elizabeth)

Western Cape Projects:

The Dare to Dream, Zip Zap Circus Trust (Cape Town); Development of An Appropriate Rural Model for Community Care Workers (Oudtshoorn); Community Keepers (Cape Flats); West Coast Youth Orchestra Skills Development (West Coast); Indoni Academy Training Programme (Cape Town); Autism Western Cape – Inclusion, Empowerment and Outreach (Western Cape); Silulo Ulutho Technologies – Pioneering Technological Experience in the Emerging Communities; Community Safety: Court Watching Brief Unit.

Gauteng Projects:

The Buskaid String Academy of String Teaching and Performance (Soweto); Viva Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Initiative (SAPRI) (Mamelodi); Umuzi, (Jeppestown); TEARS Foundation (Johannesburg); The Wot-If? Trust (Diepsloot).

Free State Projects:

The Khaya Lam (My Home) Land Reform Project (Parys); Tshepang Educare Trust – Special Needs Programme for Pre-School Children (Bethlehem).

KwaZulu Natal Projects:

Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust – Woza Moya (Hillcrest); Thanda (Hibberdene).

Eastern Cape Project:

Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre (Port Elizabeth); Solar Turtle (Mqanduli Village).