The photographs were all outstanding, as everyone who followed this worthy campaign will know. It must have been an unenviable task to choose the last finalists – there were so many wonderful entries! Each of the finalists was worthy of the title, in my opinion. Thought-provoking pictures of the life we share with other creatures on this planet stirred emotions and left every guest mute for at least a moment or two.
What a privilege to meet some of the finalists: Brandi Hill, with her fabulous idea of bringing photography to kids in townships; Brenda Goldswain, with her picture of a little boy in Alexandra with a plastic plate and a spoon – his first hot breakfast, courtesy of the Tiger Brands Foundation, which is feeding 32 000 kids a day (including every primary school child in Alexandra, the foundation’s director, Kelvin Glen, was proud to share).
Rob Greaves could be described as enigmatic in his own way. This ex-newspaper photographer is always looking for unusual pictures, and he took his winning photo of a black woman with a white child on her back – her own two children walking beside her, one in his nappy – in Kloof during the 1994 general elections. She had clearly been to the shop to buy groceries, perhaps for her employer. Rob said this picture touched him so much that he phoned his own black nanny in Empangeni to ask her forgiveness for anything he could have done to hurt her in the past, and to thank her for her enormous contribution to his life.… His photograph tells a thousand stories of the South Africa we live in, and evokes emotion, no matter what angle you look at it.
Then there was Anton and Deena van Niekerk. Deena took the soulful photograph of the young leopard in a cage. This brother and sister team call themselves conservationists who try to bring the story (and the plight) of many helpless creatures to the people by filming and photographing them. This leopard had a happy ending, but there are many that are not so lucky…
Michael Raimondo (Green Renaissance) and Pam Sherriffs (WWF) make a formidable team, working with wildlife; more specifically, in this case, with black rhinos. WWF breed these rhinos in Ezimvelo, KZN, and then try to find enough land to relocate them to. The ideal is to relocate 15 to 20 rhinos at a time so they can become a breeding herd. This strategy is based on the success story of the white rhino, which also originated with KZN Wildlife. The winning pic was one of only two pics taken that day (the rest was filmed and Warren Smart, the photographer, managed to capture that crucial moment – quite symbolic – where the rhino is hanging between heaven and earth, on a piece of rope, completely at the mercy of humans. In this time of rhino poaching, where these beautiful animals are killed every day, this story of hope and new life is a beacon of light, celebrated by a stunning picture.
The sponsor’s Vince Boulle, executive head ofNedbank’s Wealth Management, said it was a privilege to champion such a worthy project, because “philanthropy and giving can create prosperity for everyone”.
All in all a wonderful evening, showcasing a company with heart, that really makes a difference in people’s lives.
For pictures of the evening, have a look at the album on our Facebook page.