2011 Women of the Year


Dr Elmi Muller is a medical pioneer who, with her team, was the first in the world to transplant a kidney from an HIV-positive donor to an HIV-positive recipient in October 2008. She has since performed nine similar operations. She’s based at the University of Cape Town’s surgery department and is a surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital where she initiated the HIV-positive-to-positive transplant project. It was prompted by the great need for donor organs in the country and especially because HIV-positive patients with end-stage renal failure had limited options in the state sector. Some of Dr Muller’s transplant patients had in fact been sent home without much hope of recovery as they didn’t qualify for dialysis or transplants because of limited state funding. Her work has changed this – now HIV-positive patients are accepted for dialysis and are listed on her transplant programme.  


Shona McDonald
is a visionary businesswoman who manufactured her first South African- appropriate modular posture support buggy nearly 20 years ago to improve the quality of life of children living with severe disabilities, then went on to build a successful business around it. McDonald built up her business, Shonaquip, from nothing into one which has received several national and international awards for the impact it has had on the lives of people with disabilities in South Africa, enabling them to take their rightful place in society. She recognised the need for appropriate wheelchairs when she was struggling to find solutions for her daughter, Shelly, who was born with cerebral palsy. Shelly was unable to go to school and was at constant risk of developing life-threatening postural deformities and secondary health complications. Since making her first chair McDonald has gone from strength to strength. Her company is a qualified Enterprise Development Beneficiary that employs 62 people of whom 10 are disabled and 30 are women.


As the first principal of Ngqengelele High School in a small village, Mahlabathini, in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Ednah Molly Zulu transformed a one-classroom venture into a high school that receives awards year after year for its matric pass rate and excellence. An important part of the curriculum Zulu and her colleagues teach is entrepreneurship which is essential in an area where poverty can easily destroy dreams. Many of their learners have failed elsewhere and come to Ngqengelele to pick up their dreams and start afresh. Zulu also offers after-school classes in activities such as sewing where parents of pupils make shirts for the school. Her vision is to develop the school into a technical high school where skills such as welding, computer science, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and other trades can be taught. This will enable learners to enter the job market more easily or start their own businesses 


Dr Nobs Mwanda
 is a medical doctor and a pioneer in the management of child abuse. Having seen the effects of child sexual abuse and the lack of resources to deal with the problem she is active in preventing the scourge and providing medical assessments and social support for victims and their families. In 2000 she stablished Zamokuhle Community Upliftment Programmes, later renamed Copessa (Community-based Prevention and Empowerment Strategies in SA). It opened its first child abuse centre in 2004 in Soweto. It offers medical assessment of child victims of sexual abuse, counselling and social support services. The centre has been hailed for developing a safe kids’ park. Women were also drawn intoa sewing project and a vegetable garden that generates income.


The founder of Baphumelele Education Centre and Children’s Home in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Rosie Mashale cares for hundreds of abandoned and orphaned children from infants to 18-year-olds and teens with HIV/Aids. Baphumelele (Xhosa for “progress”) describes exactly what has happened since this primary school teacher moved to Khayelitsha in 1985. Since then Rosie Mashale’s work has grown from a shelter for a few children to a well-run organisation caring for orphans, homeless children and young people living with HIV/Aids. Mashale established Baphumelele in 2001. Today it’s more than a shelter and home for abandoned children – it houses a school, a respite centre for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis sufferers, a community kitchen and a woodwork shop offering employment to men. She also recently started a halfway house where young people are taught skills to help them find employment. Through her work Mashale has created employment for 135 people and highlighted the issues that plague the poor in South Africa. 



Finalists Announced!

Three finalists have been announced in each of the five categories of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award.

Judges Announced

The names of the judges who will select this year's Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year, have been announced.

Women of the Year success stories

As the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award enters its judging phase, the winners of 2011 tell of how they are utilizing the prize money received from the Shoprite Group of Companies, to enhance their work and build a better future for the people of South Africa.

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