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Op-eds

Achiever Awards a heartening end to a dispiriting week

  • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)
Coming as it did at the end of a traumatic week for this country, this year’s Absa Jewish Achiever Awards was a heartening demonstration of how much people across age and gender in our community have managed to accomplish.
by SHAUN ZAGNOEV | Sep 12, 2019

The resounding message was that from an entrepreneurial point of view, there remains plenty of scope for innovation and creativity in South Africa, for all its serious challenges. Even more than the achievements of those who won awards, what really brought this home to me was how many impressive nominees there were in every category, each one of whom would have been a worthy winner had the voting gone that way. Without burying our heads in the sand, this is another side of South Africa we should be aware of.

Another encouraging aspect of Sunday’s awards ceremony was the evident high regard with which the Jewish community is held in the greater society, particularly the business sector. This was shown by, amongst other things, the high-level corporate sponsorships and distinguished guest list.

We are seen as a community that in addition to its well-known record of entrepreneurship, continues to be an involved and contributing component of our society. That, I believe, is the true antidote to the current malaise in South Africa. The answer is to engage as much as possible rather than withdraw, to find new and creative ways to deal with obstacles rather than being discouraged by them, and to be bold enough when the time comes to try to make our dreams a practical reality, even at the risk of possible failure. The winners and nominees at this year’s awards epitomise these qualities, and they set an example for the rest of us.

Assistance for xenophobia victims

All acts of mob violence are abhorrent, but when people are targeted solely on account of their foreign nationality, it adds an especially harrowing dimension to such attacks.

The latest eruptions of xenophobic unrest, in addition to the deaths and injuries, have left many victims all but destitute following the looting and destruction of their businesses, homes, and property.

This week, the board called for contributions to help alleviate the plight of those affected. At this stage, we aren’t collecting clothes and groceries, but appealing for funds to assist families with alternate accommodation and whatever specific needs they have. We will be monitoring the situation, and will advise the community should other relief be required. The relevant banking details are: SA Jewish Board of Deputies, Standard Bank Killarney, Account: 200305190, Reference: Xenophobia Relief.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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