Former Eastern Cape MEC honoured for arts and culture

Mthatha-born Sonwabile Mancotywa has been unanimously elected as this year’s recipient of the RAVZOJ Leadership award.
This in an event hosted by Serbia Africa Investment Forum to honour citizens who have made remarkable contributions in various spheres in their respective communities and the world at large.
In a letter, chairman of the organising committee Zarko Taric informed Mancotywa that the committee was crediting him for the outstanding contribution he made in the arts, culture and heritage fraternity. “It goes without saying that you deserve this highest honour for the leadership role you provided in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.”
Mancotywa, the chief executive officer of the SA National Heritage Council (NHC) for the past 15 years, has been active in the culture and heritage sector.
In these years he has been steering the organisation to be the leading government agency, a voice on culture and heritage policy, and he also gives advice to leaders and other continental institutions as well as global organisations on heritage and culture-related matters.
Taric said many historical and heritage sites in Africa had benefited in the world through Mancotywa’s “sterling diplomacy and leadership”.
Some of the initiatives that Mancotywa, the former Eastern Cape arts and culture MEC, introduced to the heritage sector include the development of a comprehensive transformation charter that drew public contributions from constituencies in all the provinces and professionals in various institutions.
Other initiatives are The Ubuntu programme, which was introduced by the NHC to revive the spirit of the African humanity philosophy and lifestyle.
The Ubuntu program also recognised one global citizen per annum who were examples of ubuntu amplified through their acts and interaction with society. Its past recipients include Nelson Mandela (2006), Kenneth Kaunda (2007), Fidel Castro (2008), Boutros Boutros-Ghali and King Sabata Dalindyebo (2009), Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (2011), Miriam Makeba (2013) and Julius Nyerere (2014).
Taric said: “Your positive function and policy advice even at Unesco level is recognised unequivocally. You have not only put South Africa on the map but Africa as a whole. Many historical and heritage sites of Africa have benefited in the world listing conventions through your sterling diplomacy and leadership.”
Reacting to the news on Friday, Mancotywa said he was humbled, and had accepted the invite to attend the ceremony.
“I really did not expect to receive any award for serving my community. Culture has been close to my heart since my years as a student. I also had the honour to serve as the first MEC for arts and culture in the Eastern Cape province where I further saw the need for my contribution to affirm the African voice in preserving the soul of the nation which is culture and heritage,” said Mancotywa...

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