The National Braai Day initiative, the official custodians of the “South African of the Year” award, is excited to announce the four South African of the Year nominees for 2016. They are: Black Coffee, Caster Semenya, Pretty Yende and Wayde van Niekerk.
The South African of the Year campaign forms part of an ambition to ensure that 24 September is firmly established as South Africa’s national day of celebration. Each of these nominees has given the country cause for great celebration during the course of 2016.
Last year, through thousands of public votes, South Africa chose Trevor Noah as their South African of the Year for his achievement of becoming the new host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”.
This light-hearted campaign to choose the South African of the Year is run annually by the National Braai Day initiative in the build-up to 24 September, with the winner being announced on Heritage Day.
“The South African of the Year is someone who, with a phenomenal achievement, made you extremely proud of being South African,” says Jan Scannell, the man behind the National Braai Day initiative and the South African of the Year project.
“Our intention is to highlight exceptional performances by South Africans that bring the country to a standstill, and to acknowledge the special moments where the hearts of the nation beat together, united in pride.”
Black Coffee is nominated for becoming the first South African to win a BET Award. In June this year the artist was the recipient of the Best International Act – Africa category.
During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Caster Semenya stormed to a gold medal victory against a strong field in the women’s 800m final.
Having already won critical acclaim and various awards in the opera houses of Vienna, Moscow, Milan and New York, soprano singer Pretty Yende has recently released her first solo album globally. In October she will break new ground when she performs at the Opera National de Paris.
Last year, Wayde van Niekerk was also a nominee for South African of the Year for his stunning performance at the 2015 IAAF World Championships where he shot to a dramatic gold medal in the 400m final. Van Niekerk is nominated once more for his sensational run in the men’s 400m final at the Rio Olympic Games where he took the gold medal and set a new 400m world record of 43.03. This moment in athletic history brought South Africa and the rest of the watching world to a standstill.
“These achievements embody the spirit of the greatest nation on earth,” says Scannell.
The South African of the Year will be chosen by public vote on the social media platform Twitter. The vote will be in the form of a Twitter poll that is live from 19 September until the morning of Heritage Day on 24 September, with the winner being announced while millions of South Africans are united around fires.
To vote, go to the @JanBraai Twitter profile and simply click on your favourite in the poll, which is pinned at the top. Votes will be collated by Twitter, with the eventual winner being automatically identified by the social media platform on 24 September.
“South African of the Year” is a registered trademark, of which the National Braai Day initiative is the legal custodian. In tune with all activities of the National Braai Day initiative, South African of the Year is being run as a non-profit project with the sole purpose of enhancing the Heritage Day public holiday as South Africa’s national day of celebration.