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Here’s to next 25 years of newsmakers and achievers

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This is a mammoth year for the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards and the SA Jewish Report. We celebrate 25 years of the newspaper, the awards, and the SA Jewish Report’s contribution to the South African Jewish community locally and internationally.

The Absa Jewish Achiever Awards this year won’t just recognise 10 outstanding achievers, but the remarkable achievements of the South African Jewish community over the past 25 years. This year, this most loved event on the Jewish calendar will honour 25 years of the South African Jewish community’s contribution to post-apartheid South Africa.

“For 25 years, the SA Jewish Report has been working for the community, delivering news, access to information, and community events,” says Howard Sackstein, the chairperson of the SA Jewish Report and the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards.

“While we honour 10 unique and outstanding individuals, we will take a nostalgic look at 25 years of winners,” said Sackstein. “We’ll consider the women and men who contributed to art, sport, science, entrepreneurship, business, and humanitarian and community work.

“This will be a time to sit back and reflect on such a remarkable achievement for our community and a milestone for South Africa and what we do for the country,” said Sackstein.

“Over the past 25 years, we have almost created a catalogue of what a community can do for a country,” said Sackstein, “how you can grow it, celebrate excellence, and push people further and higher to achieve greatness.

“To experience what will be phenomenal and different this year,” Sackstein said, “you are going to have to come and see for yourself. You should know that it will be nostalgic, emotional, and meaningful.”

This year’s nominees will be among the greatest the community has to offer. “Nominees will be held in the same high esteem as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Robbie Brozin, not only for his incredible work with Nando’s but also for his work in reimagining what Johannesburg could look like,” said Sackstein.

“We recognise people like media personality Mandy Wiener; or Sir Mick Davis, who has built one of the largest mining empires in the world; business mogul Sol Kerzner; Wendy Fisher for her humanitarian contribution; or Marc Lubner for his humanitarian contribution to South Africa,” said Sackstein. “We’ve recognised in the past people like musical legend Johnny Clegg and internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge; and entrepreneurs like Brett and Mark Levy from Blue Label.

“We want to keep on highlighting people of the same calibre year after year, and the only way for us to do so is to have the community nominate those whom it believes are giants in the community.”

Twenty-five years is a remarkable feat for any newspaper in a world where print is mostly not popular or profitable, Sackstein said, so it’s “important that we take this look back at 25 years of success to keep our community moving forward”.

He said that after 25 years of the Jewish Achiever Awards – no small feat – he’s repeatedly asked whether everyone remarkable in our community has already been recognised, but “every year, we come up with new names, new individuals, new innovators, and new entrepreneurs who are driving our community and the country further”.

“We look for the unique, the great, those who never accept mediocrity but who strive for greatness,” said Sackstein, “We’re looking for people who have had impact and significance in their field.

“Whether that be a remarkable young person for our Rising Star category or an exceptional woman in the Europcar Women in Leadership category. They can be entrepreneurs, humanitarians, community service people, or business leaders. We want the cream of the crop.”

Thirty judges spread across 10 categories spanning business, leadership, humanitarian efforts, sport, art and culture, community service, women in leadership, and finally youth, will sift through all the nominations, interview the candidates, and create role models for the community.

Sackstein urges everyone to identify and celebrate the greatness in our community and the contribution these people have made to South Africa by nominating them, starting this week. To nominate, go to

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