THE Menston based charity The Bambisanani Partnership recently presented its annual awards at Mnyakayana High School in South Africa to six talented students.

The awards went to (from left to right in the group photo): John Paul II Foundation for Sport Sportswomen of the Year Award: Bandile Ntanzi;

Laurie McCauley Creative Writing Award: Sthembile Dlezi; Sibonelo Magwaza Award (Outstanding Young Leader) & John Paul II Foundation For Sport ‘True Spirit of Sport’ Award: Nontethelelo Gasa; Laurie McCauley Most Improved Footballer Award: Sandile Mpungose; John Paul II Foundation for Sport ’Helping Others Achieve Their Potential’ Award: Sifiso Mnqayi; John Paul II Foundation for Sport Sportsman of the Year Award: Siyabonga Mbambo.

Mrs Pk Zondi, Bambisanani Coordinator at Mnyakanya School spoke of the importance of the prestigious annual awards: “The Bambisanani Awards for 2020 had a great impact in motivating and awakening hope in Mnyakanya students, who were greatly demotivated by the Covid 19 pandemic which disturbed the 2020 academic year; they have lifted spirits. Students were not sure whether their efforts in school activities would be fruitful or not. The award winners were so excited to be recognised for their efforts. They are motivated to do more at school and to attend classes actively. They developed higher self-esteem and self-confidence. They are a great inspiration to other learners who saw those receiving awards. I wish to thank the Bambisanani Partnership for introducing these inspirational awards. We especially remember at this time, Laurie McCauley and Sibonelo Magwaza who continue to motivate through the very special awards in their memory. Even though the Bambisanani volunteers were not with us this year for the presentation they were certainly with us in spirit.”

The recipients were clearly delighted with their awards: John Paul II Foundation for Sport Sportswomen of the Year: Bandile Ntanzi said: “I am very happy to be named as a Sportswomen of the Year. It will also inspire other learners. I have seen many students wishing to take pictures with me holding this award. I felt like a famous person! I do believe that my career in sports will be brighter in the future. Thank you very much to the Bambisanani Partnership for recognising me as the Sportswomen of the Year.”

Sthembile Dlezi received the Laurie McCauley Creative Writing Award: “It is a great pleasure for me to win the Creative Writing Award. I am very happy that my writing skills have been internationally recognised. This award is motivating me inexplicably. The award will definitely go a long way to make my future brighter because I will always mention this achievement in my Curriculum Vitae when applying for jobs! I wish to thank everyone involved in recognising me.”

Having won two awards, the multi-talented Nontethelelo Gasa could hardly contain her excitement: “It is amazing, I can’t believe that it is me who is holding the Sibonelo Magwaza Award of an Outstanding Young leader and the True Spirit of Sport Award. Thank you very much to the Bambisanani Team. This makes me happy to see that my future is brightening. It’s like I have already received my final year results. I am really motivated to be more active in all school activities and hope to achieve more in future.”

No less excited was Sandile Mpungose who won the Laurie McCauley Legacy Award for the Most Improved Footballer: “Yesss, I’ve got it! I have been wishing to hold the Laurie Award for many years. I was greatly inspired by the previous year’s award winners. I am very grateful that this year it is mine to hold. I am also hoping to inspire others. This makes me proud as a sports person. I also hope that my team mates will be very proud of me. This award motivates all of us as a team to work harder. I feel honoured and humbled. Thanks to all the Bambisanani team for making this happen.”

Sifiso Mnqayi was surprised with his award:

“I am Sifiso Mnqayi, a new grade 12 learner at Mnyakanya. It’s so exciting for me to be awarded with the ‘Helping Others Achieve Their Potential Award. I never thought that my teachers were appreciating what I do to this extent. So this award is really a surprise to me. At school I am organising peer teaching and group studies after school to encourage high achievement to my class mates. I also assist others with subjects that I know better. This award is really a great motivation to me and also to my class mates. I feel like I am a well-known person even internationally. I wish to pass my sincere gratitude to all who made this happen.”

John Paul II Foundation for Sport Sportsman of the Year Siyabonga Mbambo added: “It is a great honour for me to be recognised with the Sportsman of the Year Award. I really like football and wish to be a professional player one day. This award is giving me hope for the future based on my present performance. I hope this will also encourage others in soccer. Ngiyabonga kakhulu kwiBambisanani Partnership.”

David Geldart from the partnership said: “You only have to read the quotes above and see the photographs to get a sense of just how important these awards have become. Recognising and rewarding achievement is so important at any time but it is particularly significant in this very difficult and testing year. I congratulate all the award winners; they are truly outstanding – keep working hard; nothing succeeds like hard work, persistence and determination. Our thoughts are always with the wonderful McCauley and Magwaza families at this time. The awards in memory of Laurie and Sibonelo are both aspirational and inspirational – what a wonderful legacy. We also thank Monsignor Vladimir Felzman (Father Vlad) and the John Paul II Foundation for Sport for their fantastic support of the partnership and in particular helping to establish the annual awards which acknowledge the power of sport as a force for good. With the presentation and photographs over, many more students will now be aspiring to gain one of the prestigious awards in 2021!”

For more information about the Bambisanani Partnership see