Get­ting big­ger and bet­ter

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - AMANDA MALIBA

THE Feather Awards con­tinue to raise the bar 10 years af­ter its in­cep­tion.

The nom­i­na­tion party for this year’s awards cer­e­mony was held on Wed­nes­day at the iconic Con­sti­tu­tion Hill, in keep­ing with cel­e­brat­ing what would have been Mama Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela’s 82nd birth­day.

Feather Awards co-founder Thami Kot­lolo says the vi­sion of the event still re­mains the same, al­though it has grown in leaps and bounds.

“The awards have grown and every year it is a chal­lenge for me to say ‘what am I do­ing that is new, what am I tak­ing on? How have peo­ple re­ceived this and what do they want to see that is new?’ That is what I am work­ing on now,” says Kot­lolo.

To high­light growth, the or­gan­is­ers have made sig­nif­i­cant ad­just­ments, in­clud­ing re­nam­ing the Feather of the Year cat­e­gory to the Si­mon Nkoli Award.

This in recog­ni­tion of the late LGBTI+ ac­tivist. Nkoli was a lead­ing anti-apartheid, gay rights and Aids ac­tivist in the coun­try. “Re­nam­ing this cat­e­gory is a big deal for us be­cause Si­mon Nkoli is a big name. I think we don’t do enough as the LGBTI+ com­mu­nity to make sure that we ac­knowl­egde the his­tory of LGBTIs.

“Its been 20 years since he passed on and it makes sense for us to hon­our him in that fash­ion,“says Kot­lolo.

“I would like for the Feath­ers to be a huge big deal. I have at­tended award cer­e­monies and I am al­ways in­spired by how big they are. If you look at the red car­pet all over, eve in­ter­na­tion­ally... I’ve al­ways wanted to shut down a street, light it up, pos­si­bly colour it like a rain­bow, etc.

“So I think all I want to achieve with this plat­form is to present the city in a dif­fer­ent way, like it has never been done be­fore, “he adds about mak­ing the pres­ence of the awards felt.

Kot­lolo’s ac­tivism jour­ney started with him speak­ing out about things that af­fected him, and be­ing in­vited to share his views and mak­ing his opin­ion mat­ter.

“I cre­ated this plat­form be­cause I wanted the dis­cus­sions to con­tinue and the top­ics around LGBTI+ stuff to con­tinue. From just dis­cussing these, I am at a point where I must host these dis­cus­sions, have the di­a­logues – and be­fore you know it, you are an ac­tivist,” says the man who de­scribes him­self as a uni­corn who has the magic to cre­ate.

The 10th an­niver­sary ush­ers in a new cat­e­gory; the So­cial Me­dia Award. This will go to an in­di­vid­ual whose on­line pres­ence is hard to ig­nore.

It is for some­one who has a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of fol­low­ers, who are kept hooked and en­ter­tained through a very ac­tive time­line that causes un­miss­able waves on the so­cial me­dia streets.

Nom­i­nees in dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, friends and in­dus­try giants came out in droves to cel­e­brate the up­com­ing do. Somizi Mh­longo, who was an­nounced as this year’s solo host, was among the high-fly­ing per­son­al­i­ties in at­ten­dance.

Other A-lis­ters were ac­tors Re­nate Stu­ur­man, Rami Chuene, Bo­hang Moeko, model Re­filwe Modis­elle and ra­dio jock Smash Afrika.

I cre­ated this plat­form be­cause I wanted the dis­cus­sions to con­tinue… Thami Kot­lolo Co-founder of Feather Awards

| Nokuthula Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

RE­FILOE Modis­elle at the Feather Awards cer­e­mony. RE­NATE Stu­ur­man was also in at­ten­dance at the Feather Awards cer­e­mony.

AYANDA Tha­bethe was seen at the Feather Awards. SOMIZI Mh­longo at the Feather Awards.

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