Nelson Mandela Bay is the best

Janine Erasmus

Nelson Mandela Bay is the Best African City of the Year, according to the 2007 World Leadership Awards.

The city also took top honours in the Health category for its Emmanuel Haven hydroponics project, a Christian-driven initiative to help those afflicted by HIV and Aids. The only other finalist in this category, which is not region-specific and is open to all contestants, was the city of Lagos in Nigeria.

The ceremony took place in December in London.

“This has indeed proved that Nelson Mandela Bay is committed to working with the people in improving their lives for the better,” said Bay’s executive mayor Nondumiso Maphazi, accepting the award. “The name Nelson Mandela Bay will continue to travel around the world and serve as an outstanding marketing tool for attracting tourists, as well as local and international investors.”

Praising all those who had contributed to the city’s triumph, Maphazi said, “We thank the world for bestowing on us these important awards. We have won for the world, Africa, South Africa and our beautiful city – Nelson Mandela Bay with all its residents!”

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality encompasses the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, as well as its inland neighbours Uitenhage and Despatch. The city is not a first-time winner at the World Leadership Awards – in 2005 its Red Location Museum of Struggle won the Architecture and Civil Engineering category, while its Sustainable Community Planning entry won the Town Planning category.

New prizewinner the Emmanuel Haven comprises a research unit, an antiretroviral clinic, an orphans’ club and a Christian outreach programme. The hydroponics project provides a sustainable health service through its unique business model. It encourages proper health care for HIV-infected people by integrating its services with the general community to eliminate the discrimination and stigma that many hospices and their patients face.

Leaders around the world

The World Leadership Awards are granted by the UK-based World Leadership Forum, a non-profit organisation that promotes leadership on a global scale by drawing attention to the work of exceptional leaders in various fields and celebrating them with awards such as the policymaker of the year and the business leader of the year. It also stimulates debate on leadership issues.

Founded in 2005, the World Leadership Awards celebrate the very best in modern city leadership. Awards organisers invite over 400 cities around the world to submit projects for consideration in 15 categories ranging from sport and culture and arts to architecture, urban renewal and town planning.

Winners are selected from shortlisted entrants who are required to make a presentation to the judges in London. Awards are bestowed on those cities whose leaders have shown imagination, foresight or resilience in city management, as well as those cities that have overcome difficulties and set themselves as an example and inspiration to others.

The year 2007 was the first time that the judges – all authorities in their respective fields – focused on broader regions, singling out the top cities in each region. The winners, chosen from the top cities in the 15 specialist categories, were Nelson Mandela Bay (Africa), Las Vegas, USA (America), Amman, Jordan (Asia-Pacific), and Madrid, Spain (Europe).

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