Youth focus earns pair Citizen of Year gongs
STEPPING out of their own comfort zones to improve the lives of underprivileged children has earned two Nelson Mandela Bay good fellows honours as the Bay’s top citizens.
St George’s Park resident Lukholo Badi, 36, walked away with the Herald Citizen of the Year award in the open category, while Westering resident Duwayne Putter, 22, received the Youth Citizen of the Year accolade.
Badi is founder of the Imveli Cycling Academy in Kwazakhele, a community development project which provides cycling, running and swimming programmes dedicated to youth development.
Putter operates a full-time care centre for poor and abused children in Walmer Township.
The Come and Learn Educational and Youth Development Centre provides tutoring for struggling pupils and household essentials, hosts soup kitchens and assists shack fire victims.
The awards ceremony was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday evening, where video clips of the nominees’ work were screened.
The Herald and Weekend Post editor Brett Horner congratulated the two, saying they were worthy winners.
“I trust the Citizen of the Year will be a good platform for them to take their community work to greater heights,” Horner said. He complimented host partner Radisson Blu, saying it had done a sterling job in hosting the event.
Badi said he was surprised and honoured when his name was called.
He is the youth and development commission head for Nelson Mandela Bay district cycling and is also the president of Eastern Cape cycling.
“To have my name on this prestigious trophy is something I will cherish, because this is not about being educated, it’s about giving back to the community,” an elated Badi said.
He said winning the award gave him and the Imveli academy credibility and came with a lot of responsibility as people would now look up to him.
Putter said he was humbled at being honoured and now aimed to take his project to the rest of the metro.
He said winning the award would allow him to connect with more people and hopefully help achieve his dream of ridding the metro of poverty.
Members of the judging panel were blown away by the entrants this year.
Radisson Blu general manager Yashvir Jithoo said the hotel was proud to partner with The Herald on the event. He commended the winners for the hard work they had put into their projects.
Each winner receives a R15 000 cash prize and a 12-month digital subscription to The Herald and Weekend Post.
HONOURS: The Herald editor Brett Horner, with Duwayne Putter and Lukholo Badi, and Radisson Blu’s Yashvir Jithoo