By Megan McCarthy
Students and staff who have had notable impacts on society were recently honoured at the Amnesty International Awards for Social Change evening, held on August 20.
Larissa Klazinga, assistant to the Dean of Students, won the award for staff activism and was recognised for being “a committed member of the One in Nine campaign who always goes beyond the call of duty,” this according to the presenters of the awards, Grace Munthali and Philip Abrahams. The student activism award went to Nicolene McLean, founder and chairperson of GAP (Gender Action Project), who was away representing them at a world youth congress.
Activate congratulates The Oppidan Press for winning the student community engagement award.
Advocate Nickie Turner, SA’s top senior state advocate and High Court prosecutor, was a guest speaker at the awards. Turner commented on the awards saying, “We all need some encouragement; there are so many people who strive so hard. This [the awards] just gives you an impetus to try harder. I was so impressed at what people are doing, the nominees were brilliant.”
Dean of Students, Professor Vivian de Klerk said, “It’s important to recognise people who work hard towards social change on campus – they’re doing what my office wants them to do.”
Kwezilomso Mbandazayo won the student leadership award and felt ecstatic on her win. “I feel hugely honoured, I wasn’t expecting it. It’s motivating for staff and students,” she said.
Amnesty chairperson, Alinka Brutsch said, “We wanted to recognise the work individuals and groups are doing on campus and in the Grahamstown community, often going above and beyond that which is expected of them. People tend to focus on what’s wrong with our society, and they have good reason to, but it often means that they don’t look at those things that are good. There are so many wonderful people and groups at Rhodes that are doing fantastic work and I think it’s really important we acknowledge that.”