Awarded once a year, the St Anne Award gives special recognition to an Old Girl who has shown dedicated service to her community, going above and beyond the call of duty for no financial gain; someone who has embodied our value of 'Reaching Out' with compassion, humility and service.
The Award of Excellence is an award for an Old Girl who embodies determination, success, and excellence in her chosen field. Judges of the award look across a wide range of industries and professions - including academia, business, literature, performance arts, social responsibility, and visual arts, to name a few.
Should you consider one of your fellow Old Girls to be a worthy nominee for either of these awards, please complete the nomination form. All nominations are reviewed by the Old Girls’ Committee, and the St Anne Award is presented annually on Old Girls’ Day.
2019 - Toni Burton (Spiller) Award Of Excellence Winner
On Friday, 1 February, we hosted Toni Burton (nee Spiller, 1976, FB) at St Anne’s and presented her with the Award of Excellence for her commitment to training and empowering disadvantaged women. In 2007, she started up her company, Zizamele, and was able to employ a number of ladies who she had trained in the art of creating ceramics. Zizamele has grown from strength to strength and the ladies who fashion these beautiful pieces have the security of employment and a steady income....
Toni addressed the girls of St Anne’s before accepting her award and was an inspiration to all. She present 3 girls who asked her favourite questions with beautiful Zizamele pieces. She also gave St Anne’s an iconic Ubuntu Bowl which we will proudly display!
House: Frances Baines
2019 - Peter Gush St Anne Award Winner
Mr Peter Gush joined the St Anne’s Diocesan College Board in 1968 at the age of 37. He was a chartered accountant and partner of Price Waterhouse at the time which stood him in good stead when he was elected as the Chairman of the Board Finance Committee in 1970. He became Chairman of the Board in 1979 and he chaired the Board for 12 years until 1990. Mr Gush was a very involved Chairman and he attended many Board and Finance Committee meetings, as well as Speech Days and other special...
College functions. He was involved in selecting three Heads of school – Tony Cheetham, Bill McQuade and David Wilkinson.
Mr Gush gave 52 years of humble, selfless service to the College both on the Board and the Foundation attending many meetings until 2018. He was renowned for his fierce guardianship of financial constraint at the College and preferring to save money “for a rainy” day. He interrogated all requests for funding from the Foundation and this attitude ensured the substantial growth of the Foundation funds. He assisted in getting the loan of R2 million to build Mollie Stone, and he surprised everyone by sanctioning a donation by the Foundation for the funding of the extensions of the Chapel.
His wife Caroline, their three daughters (Julia (1979), Katie (1981), Hilary (1987) and many of his extended family have been educated at St Anne’s. Sadly Caroline passed away in 2000 and in 2006 Peter battled and won the fight against cancer. Peter is a devoted family man and loves spending time with his children and grandchildren.
St Anne’s runs through Peter’s veins due to his close family ties with the College over the decades. He is a strong believer in women having equal opportunities and supporting themselves and he has proudly associated himself with St Anne’s core values, which represent his own. He has seen many changes during his time at St Anne’s and he has been an inspiration to us all with his unconditional dedication and service to the growth of the College.
The St Anne’s Old Girls Guild take great pleasure in awarding Mr Peter Gush with the St Anne Award as well as inviting him to be part of The Guild as Honorary Old Girl.
2018 - Thuli Sibeko (Ntsuntsha) St Anne Award Winner
Nokuthula (Thuli) Sibeko is a social entrepreneur at heart. In 1999, prior to starting her career journey, she was a member of a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) called Community Youth Empowa’ment (CYE), an organisation committed to social upliftment through community based initiatives. Some of the key projects of CYE were the established and running a Saturday School for learners in Soweto where they tutored Maths, Science and English; facilitating a self-development programme; building...
Resource Centres in some Soweto schools and hosting career workshops for learners. In 2012 and 2013 she cycled the Cape Argus for charity to help raise funds for school uniforms for one of the charities. She then co-founded Girls Invent Tomorrow (GIT), an NPO dedicated to initiating programs designed to empower, educate and mentor girls about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Through her GIT initiatives and with the support from her clients, she has hosted STEM career days, coding session and ran a 12-week tech Saturday programme. In 2015, she launched the NEXTgen Leadership Conference aimed to engage, motivate and inspire young people to maximise their potential and to guide them as they navigate their way to having a successful career. Thuli was nominated in the category Future ICT Leader at the 2016 ICT Achievers Awards, she was listed as one of the 60 women changing the narrative in Girls Code Blog and listed a Top 10 Youth that are helping revolutionise SA tech. In 2017 she was Awarded the Distinguished Woman in Business Excellence Award at the African Women Leadership Gala Dinner. Thuli continues to inspire girls to reach for their dreams and is a well deserving winner of the St Anne Award.
House: Mollie Stone
2017 - Jo James (Brown) St Anne Award Winner
On Old Girls’ Day Jo James was awarded with the prestigious St Anne Award for her incredible service to mentally challenged children. After completing her Bachelor of Social Science degree majoring in Social Work, Jo immediately began making a difference in the lives of numerous children. She began her positive impact on young people while working for the Empangeni Child Welfare after first doing social work for the Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society. Jo later became Principal of...
Sonskynhoekie Special School for mentally handicapped children which at that time was only open to white pupils. While the Director of Zululand Mental Health, she was alerted to the desperate need for help to assist the high number of black handicapped children in the area. In 1981, she started Thuthukani Special School in her garage. From the initial 4 children, the number rose to 100 children in 6 months and she realized the enormous need to build a school. Relying solely on donations she struggled to find suitable land. In 1990, Jo was granted R500 000 by the government to build a school from scratch and was also gifted a piece of land from a local farmer. The first ever multi-racial special school for mentally challenged children in South Africa was built and officially opened in 1993. What an accomplishment! The school now has 412 children of all races with 180 on a waiting list. Jo remains a Trustee 36 years later and is a worthy and deserving winner of the St Anne Award for 2017
House: Frances Baines
2017 - Sarah Collins Award Of Excellence Winner
On 2 June 2017, the St Anne’s Old Girls’ Guild awarded Sarah Collins with The Award of Excellence for her incredible journey empowering impoverished women with the Wonderbag. In 2008, during the rolling blackouts that gripped South Africa, Sarah had an idea. She had found her destiny and was about to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women across impoverished areas of Africa. The next day, Sarah created the prototype for her heat-retention cooker, the Wonderbag. After food is...
brought to a boil, the pot is placed in the heavily-lined bag where it slow-cooks for up to 8 hours. “Finding firewood for cooking takes a huge amount of rural women’s time,” explains Sarah, “and gathering it is very dangerous. The wood fires used to cook then cause indoor pollution, a leading cause of death worldwide in children under five. Having the Wonderbag would empower the women to feed their families, generate an income, and save them time.” The Wonderbag eases the impact of health, social, economic and environmental problems facing Africa and developing countries. It enhances people’s quality of life by reducing time spent cooking. This small home business has expanded into a global social impact business. It is a dual model company with The Wonderbag Foundation focused on distributing bags to the poor. The busy Wonderbag factories produce hundreds of Wonderbags daily and a percentage of the proceeds from each Wonderbag purchased around the world are donated to the Foundation, helping them distribute Wonderbags to poverty-stricken communities. Sarah’s new goal is to sell 100 million Wonderbags to people worldwide. With the sales of these Wonderbags, the Foundation is committed to programs that continue to support the donation of bags to families in need which will act as catalysts for change! Sarah spent an afternoon interacting with the St Anne’s girls and imparted much inspiration. She is a true visionary and has an incredible heart for people. Her enthusiasm and dedication for this cause can only lead to its continued success. www.wonderbag.co.za
2017 - Susan Abro Award Of Excellence Winner
This week we were able to honour one of our remarkable Old Girls by presenting Susan Abro (Frances Baines, 1981) with the Award of Excellence. This award is presented to Old Girls who model determination, success and excellence in their chosen field of endeavour and Sue certain fulfills all these criteria and so much more. She has always been passionate about her career and is highly regarded as a specialist in family law where she has focused on the rights of women and children. Sue is...
regarded as an international specialist on Family Law matters and has done much work in connection with the abduction of minor children. She was the first woman vice-president of the KZN law society, is a member of the Law Society of SA, and the Chairperson of the Family Law Committee of SA. Sue has really excelled and the outstanding accolade of being named SA’s Family Lawyer of the Year for 2016 is a credit to her integrity, dedication and skill. Sue’s firm has also been named the South African Boutique Family Law Firm of the Year for 2017. She is an incredible role model as she has forged her way through commitment to her chosen career and the community she has served, and she has managed to retain a balance with family, friends and work – and she has a wonderful capacity for fun! Our current girls were delighted to hear Sue’s advice and insight into pursuing a career in Law as well as her stories from her time here at St Anne’s.
House: Frances Baines
2016 - Annabel Rosholt (Elgie) St Anne Award Winner
Annabel is the project Director of the Stellenbosch Community Development Programme which she started in Kayamandi 10 years ago. Working tirelessly she has built it from non-existent to a remarkable, self-sustaining, donor funded, non-profit organisation ,which evaluates 2300 children in the community and supplies those who are malnourished, approximately 2000, with a daily meal. S.C.D.P. has also initiated a food parcel programme for parents, encouraged the establishment of food gardens...
at homes and helps parents identify and create income earning opportunities through training and mentorship programmes. Annabel is making a dramatic difference in so many people’s lives and is a well deserving winner of out St Anne Award 2016. S.C.D.P. website address is www.lovetogive.org.za
House: Frances Baines
2016 - Francie Lund Award Of Excellence Winner
The inaugural Award of Excellence was presented to Francie Lunch on 21 October 2016 in recognition of her incredible social work. In 2016, Rhodes University awarded Francie with an honorary doctorate for her lifelong work as a social policy and welfare activist. This was presented to her in particular for her chairmanship, in 1995 and 1996, of the Lund Committee of Enquiry into Child and Family Support investigating forms of support for poor children in post-apartheid South Africa, which...
led to the introduction of the Child Support Grant. Francie attended the University of Cape Town where she completed a Bachelor of Social Science, cum laude, in 1968. In 1969 she went to work in Scotland as a social work therapist and in 1971 she received a post graduate diploma in Community Development from Manchester University, and later, a Master’s degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She was promoted through the ranks of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is now a Senior Research Associate at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, where until retirement in 2008, she was tenured Associate Professor. Francie is also the international director of the Social Protection Programme of WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), a global research and advocacy network involved with improvement of the conditions of work of poorer informal workers. Francie’s unfailing commitment to community welfare makes her a well deserving winner of this prestigious award.
2015 - Angela Thomson (Ibbotson) St Anne Award Winner
Angela was so appalled that desperation forced humans to scavenge on the landfill site at Grahamstown that she masterminded a recycling project and under her competent management she has improved the plight and self-respect of impoverished citizens in Grahamstown/eRhini. Her project had created jobs, developed skills, reduced litter and pollution, and alerted people to environmental issues. After a successful career in teaching and prior to her recycling initiative, Angela nurtured and...
encouraged many teachers in farm schools and in remote parts of the Transkei. Her adherence to commendable values such as empathy, disciplined thinking and the benefit of teamwork was probably first learned in the classrooms and on the playing fields of St Anne’s. However her quiet selflessness in uplifting disadvantaged people sets her apart as a blessing to South Africa and a deserving recipient of the 2015 St Anne Award.
2014 - Jenifer Thompson (Chapman) St Anne Award Winner
For the past 60 years Jenifer has quietly devoted a lifetime of service to others and has served her community with distinction doing charity work. She lives in Johannesburg where she has raised her four children. She has worked in many areas including running the Department for Physically Disabled Children, belonging to Child Welfare at Vrededorp School, working for the Red Cross, Tara Hospital, the Sandton Ambulance Services, Hospice and Lifeline counselling. In addition she has assisted...
SANCA visiting schools and educating children on drug abuse and for over a period of 12 years has been counselling at the Linden, Bramley and Sandton Police Stations and at the Sandton Clinic.
House: Marianne Browne
2013 - Ros O’Connor (Dunn) St Anne Award Winner
Ros O’Connor was recognised for her indefatigable social conscience and the considerable gifts of her time, energy and determination to make a difference to diverse and disadvantaged school communities.
House: Frances Baines
2011 - Didi Francis St Anne Award Winner
Didi Francis cycled from Cairo to Cape Town, with a team of seven fellow (male) cyclists, to raise funds for the Millennium Promise and the Millennium Villages project in Tanzania. Their efforts resulted in R 1 500 000 being raised.
2009 - Jennifer Shumaker (Harison) St Anne Award Winner
Jennifer Shumaker began working with The Heifer Project, a privately funded group that assists the poor by donating a heifer (or a similarly appropriate animal) to a deserving recipient. Later, Jennifer joined the Mercy Corps and was sent to Liberia to help to rehabilitate child soldiers. Most recently she has established a family practice specialising in conflict resolution, working particularly with abused women and children in homeless shelters.
2007 - Jane Inglis (Matterson) St Anne Award Winner
Jane Inglis has been instrumental in making changes at Turning Point Home in Brixton, Johannesburg where she is fondly known as ‘Mama Jane’, a loving nickname she has acquired from the boys.
2006 - Tessa Carss (Leary) St Anne Award Winner
Tessa Carss, in partnership with her husband, established the Zoë Carss Education Trust as a memorial to their daughter, with the intention of advancing education, most particularly amongst children and young adults, in developing countries.
House: Frances Baines
2005 - Sarah Dottridge (Smythe) St Anne Award Winner
Sarah Dottridge devoted nearly thirty years of her life to the community of Sweetwaters, in the Kwazulu-Natal region of Vulindlela, near Pietermaritzburg. Sarah made a significant difference to this densely populated, semi-rural community of about 100 000 people, most of whom live in conditions of extreme hardship and deprivation.
2004 - Meryl Harrison (Anderson) St Anne Award Winner
Meryl Harrison fought for the plight of neglected and abandoned animals in Zimbabwe during the land distributions.