Two legends of South African sport were recognised for their contribution at the annual Discovery Sport Industry Awards in Sandton on Thursday night.
Sam Tshabalala, who made history in 1989 as the first black man to win the Comrades Marathon, received the Castle Lager Lifetime Achievement Award.
After his victory at the 89km race in KwaZulu-Natal, Tshabalala was involved in a taxi accident and struggled to recover from the effects of his injuries. He was never the same athlete again, though he continued to run and support the race.
His award was presented by Comrades women’s champion Caroline Wostmann and nine-time men’s winner Bruce Fordyce.
Sports photographer Duif du Toit, who died last year, received a posthumous Deloitte Outstanding Achievement in Sport award.
John Hogg, a colleague and friend, presented the accolade to Du Toit’s wife Adela and his son De Villiers.
The well-known photographer enjoyed a tremendously successful career, covering events in nearly 60 countries, and he could often be seen capturing memorable moments at major local sports events.
“A journalist of honour, a man of soul – he was an unforgettable personality with an unforgettable ponytail and the man who had the sunshine in his eyes. He is sorely missed by us all,” Hogg said.
Meanwhile, Playmakers received the prestigious Agency of the Year gong for the fourth successive edition of the awards.
“Playmakers extended key client relationships, opened two new offices and realised significant turnover and revenue growth,” the organisers said in a statement.
“They delivered work in 11 African markets, including Kenya with client Absa Barclays, and launched the Playmakers Education Fund in partnership with The Vega School in a bid to foster creativity in the industry.
“Their innovative approach delivered exceptional results for their clients across the board in 2015.”
Banking giant Absa won two awards for its continued contribution to the sport industry, receiving the Sponsorship of the Year accolade for supporting the Cape Epic mountain bike race, as well as Best Use of PR in a Sport Campaign for its #ProudlyAfrican project.
The Comrades Marathon also received two accolades, proving the unique race remained relevant in an expanding industry, for Sport Brand of the Year and Sport Participation Event of the Year.
A total of 16 awards were presented on the night, with 1 200 guests attending the gala function, which recognised cutting edge work, inspiring and innovative campaigns.
Guests included Proteas cricketers Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis, Springbok rugby players Adrian Strauss, Jesse Kriel and Trevor Nyakane, former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe and 13-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist Natalie Du Toit.
Former England rugby and cricket internationals Josh Lewsey and Nasser Hussain were also in attendance.
“As a vibrant sporting nation, we can stand tall knowing we have an exceptional sports industry, and determined athletes who flourish on the world stage,” said Discovery chief marketing officer Dinesh Govender .
“Tonight’s awards recognise this inspired role, in giving people a unique and thrilling sporting experience used in inventive ways to uplift our nation.”
Full winners list:
Connect Khayelitsha Sports Academy – Sport Development Programme of the Year
Absa Cape Epic – Sponsorship of the Year
Vodacom, Soccer USSD – Best Use of Digital Communications in Sport
Comrades Marathon – Sport Participation Event of the Year
Nedbank Ke Yona Team Search – Best Integrated Sport Marketing Campaign
Takealot.com Cape Town 10s – Best Live Experience
Johan ‘Duif’ du Toit – Deloitte Outstanding Contribution to South African Sport
Dimension Data for Absa Cape Epic – Best New Sponsorship
Powerade for Ion4 Surprise Sweat Session – Creative Activation of the Year
SportPesa, Kenyan Premier League – Best African Sponsorship
Absa for #ProudlyAfrican – Best Use of PR in a Sport Campaign
Nedbank Ke Yona Team Captain – Sydney Masana – TV Sport Commercial of the Year
Sam Tshabalala – Castle Lager Lifetime Achievement Award
Comrades Marathon – Sport Brand of the Year
Playmakers – Sport Agency of the Year