By Crisford Chogugudza
MELBOURNE: The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) Australia this year exceeded expectations, putting on a spectacular occasion for the 2nd edition at the glamorous Marriott Hotel in Melbourne last Saturday.
The awards seek to recognise Zimbabweans based in the diaspora for outstanding and notable achievements and they were founded on the noble idea of celebrating Zimbabwean excellence by Zimbabweans.
Australia is the latest addition to the ZAA’s global presence that includes editions in UK, the USA, and the South Africa Edition. This year’s Annual Gala Dinner is Australia’s second after the successful inaugural event held in Adelaide in 2017.
In his opening speech, ZAA Australia organising director Method Mukundu said “looking at the successes we have had after only two annual gala dinners, it is clear that we are already going from strength to strength and our vision is to build capacity and partner with Australian businesses (particularly those that are Zimbabwean owned)”.
Mukundu believes that with increased capacity and support from local businesses, the community’s planning and execution becomes much easier, more relevant and aligned with the active and pro-business Zimbabwean diaspora community in Australia.
The uncovering of the hidden talent is what makes the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards more exciting as people celebrate excellence and hard work as well honouring the ordinary people who have exceeded expectations.
“I want us to grow our appeal and reach to cover all Zimbabweans across the vast expanse of Australia; that way we can ensure that we identify all the good work, all the outstanding individuals and all the business enterprises and innovation to make our awards fully encompassing,” Mukundu said.
Notable amongst the winners were Mr and Mrs Sibanda, Victoria’s best known volunteer activists, philanthropists, active community leaders and organisers who have magnanimously served the Zimbabwean and African communities in Australia and the revered Cyber Security expert and Author Philimon Zongo.
Zione Walker Nthenda, respected Lawyer, Educator & Social Entrepreneur delivered the keynote address. She acknowledged the strength and presence of the Zimbabwean community in Australia and encouraged Zimbabweans to continue to strive for excellence, enjoy what they do and utilise their talents to advocate and innovate in their respective fields.
Entertainment was provided by poet Tariro Mavondo, singer and songwriter Niasha and gospel singer Nyarai Takaidza.
Below is the full list of winners;
1 Academic Excellence -Dr Sithembinkosi Dube
2 Business of the year- Global Union Shipping
3 Community Organization of the Year -Nokutenda Disability Foundation Inc.
4 Community Champion of the year Female -Zanele Thebe
5 Community Champion of the year Male- Mr Athanas Zivave
6 Cultural Ambassador of the year – Ivy Ziyambe
7 Event of the Year Farai’s -High Tea
8 Female entrepreneur of the year -Tanya Hodza
9 Male Entrepreneur of the Year -Evans Mukonza
10 Music Artist of the Year -Fungai Katiyo
11 People’s Choice -Judith Mari
12 Professional of the Year -Dr David Tapfumanei Pfidze
13 Sports person of the Year -Tafadzwa Chitambo
14 Media Personality of the Year- Ivy Ziyambe
15 Trend, Fashion & Design Award -Shayne Tinotenda Maramba
16 Young Achiever’s Award -Michelle Sibanda
17 Outstanding Achievement Award -Phillimon Zongo
18 Philanthropic Leadership Award -Ladies of Zimbabwe in Australia (LOZA)
19 Friend of Zimbabwe Award -Dr Francis Acquah
20 Chairman’s Award -Mr Stephen and Mrs Shillar Sibanda
Dr Crisford Chogugudza is a Melbourne based Freelance Journalist. He can be reached at email@example.com