02 July 2020


Inaugural VTSD Awards recognise special talents 

by: Nthusang Lefafa and Vusi Kama      date: 03 August 2018

While some despair because they do not have the full use of their body parts, Gift Thipe from Tlokwe did not sit back and feel sorry for himself, he pursued his artistic talents to the best of his ability.
Now that hard work has paid off and he walked away with a Special Award at the first ever Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD) Awards held at the Klerksdorp Banquet Hall last week. 
The awards, organised by the Department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs (Cata) and the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) recognise achievers in the arts and culture sector of the province and awarded honours in categories that ranged from music to dance and administrators.
Thipe, who cannot use his legs and arms due to a work-related injury, received a Special Award from Cata MEC, Ontlametse Mochware, for his contribution to the arts. Upon receiving the award, Thipe encouraged people living with disabilities to use their brains instead of feeling sorry for themselves.
“I would like to urge all people who are living with disabilities not to become lazy.  They should instead use their brain, which God has given to them. I use my mouth to hold a paintbrush but I have not seen this as a setback to do what I like,” he told Semphete. 
Thipe is not only a painter, but has a variety of other talents. 
“I also teach youth to paint and give them motivational talks so they do not fall victim to substance abuse. I teach karate, fix computers and also assist women with weight loss programmes. As an individual, I love to learn new things and do not like begging people for help because God has given me a brain.”
Thipe said some of the challenges that he is confronted with as an artist is buying paint and brushes because the prices are steadily increasing. He says the tools he uses were cheaper in the past as compared to now. He also sometimes struggles to wash the paint off his work because he cannot use his hands.
One of the stars the shone brighter at the glittering ceremony was Mphebatho Cultural Museum in Moruleng, outside Rustenburg, which walked away with two awards for Best Museum and Best Heritage Facility.

Thabiso Kabane walked away with Best Music Artist award while Mncedisi Thambe took Best Actor award. On the arts front, Silumko Jas was announced as Best Visual Artist and Mpho Goremang was declared Best Craft Artist.

The province’s music star and TV actress, KB Motsilanyane, ably compered the event while musicians, Tuks and Encore performed some of their hit tracks.

“The inaugural VTSD Awards event was a resounding success,” said Cata MEC, Ontlametse Mochware, indicating that she was thrilled by the initiative.

“The response from the arts community and the broader public has been very encouraging. The stars of Bokone Bophirima came out to shine,” she added.

RiSA Chief Executive Officer, Nhlanhla Sibisi, congratulated the winners and said: “We at RiSA take off our hats to these worthy achievers keeping the flame of arts and culture illuminating in our communities. This is a bold initiative and we are proud to have been partners. We already can’t wait for next year’s edition as we applaud more talent. Congratulations to all.”

Public Relations and Communications Coordinator at RiSA, Retsebilwe Tolamo, told Semphete that RiSA got involved in the VTSD Awards as part of a legacy project.
“Our role as RiSA is not only to host the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) in the province. We decided that we should partner with Cata so that we can give back to the rural communities of Bokone Bophirima,” she said. 
The winners walked away with a trophy and R5000 prize money each. Those that received Special Awards took home R10 000 each.
A full list of winners:

Best Music Artist – Thabiso Kabare
Best Actor – Mncedisi Thambe
Best Visual Artist – Silumko Jas
Best Craft Artist – Mpho Gorewang
Best Library – Coligny Library
Best Museum – Mphebatho Cultural Museum
Best Heritage Facility – Mphebatho Cultural Museum
Best Dancer – Mpho Montshonyane from Diragammu Cultural Group
Best Community Arts Centre – Mosekaphofu
Best Arts Administrator – Klaas Kompi

The following candidates received Special Awards as presented by MEC Mochware and Thobela Dlamini:

Music – Jonny Mokhali
Visual arts- Gift Thipe
Writing – Reverend Mokwatsi