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Alternative nominations for the 2021 Persons of the Year award


Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author of Sorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a Brown Woman in a White South Africa. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @sage_of_absurd

You may find some overlap between the verified Daily Maverick nominations for Persons of the Year and the composition of this alternative list. However, my justifications are very different.

So, in no specific categorical order, here are the alternative 2021 champions:

1. In the Person Most in Need of an Exorcism category, we have Cecilia Steyn from the 2021 Showmax documentary series Devilsdorp. The “42nd generational witch” ordered and executed the murders of several people in Krugersdorp. The documentary doesn’t happen in real time, so I suppose she could win this category for the years in which her crimes were committed. But, my God, did she put the fear of God into anyone who learnt about her this year.

2. In the often-overlooked category of Mental Health Champion of the Year, we have the unidentified “bank lady” who quite literally stripped her moer in the Strand branch of Capitec bank after reportedly being refused a loan. While the video of the woman – naked and wearing only her sandals while smashing computers – went viral and people found it quite funny, there is nothing humorous about this. Consider her state of mind. Consider her insurmountable levels of stress. Consider her desperation and what it took to react in this extreme way. Mental health matters, and if it wasn’t made clear by this incident, then honestly, get a shrink because you need help., 

3. I know we often don’t (and for good reason) think about gangsters as community heroes, but they are my top selection for the winners in the Community Heroes category.

There was a serial killer on the loose in Manenberg this year. His victims of choice? Cats. Yes, you heard me. In July, at least 11 cats were found brutalised. His signature move was to slit the cat from head to tail, to disembowel it, and then throw it on to someone’s property. Why? We don’t know. But, according to my aunty’s cousin’s mother’s neighbour, other than the Animal Welfare Society of SA, the gangs of the Flats were also on the case.

Look, I can’t verify this. It may just be community gossip. But gossip starts somewhere, right? So good for them.

4. I didn’t want to go here, but I have to. Something irrational compels me to, and so I present the Mother of the Year award to Gosiame Sithole, mom of the invisible decuplets.

It has since been reported that Piet Rampedi’s story was a farce and that the famed “Tembisa 10” never existed. But then a doctor confirmed, during an Independent Media presser, that she did actually give birth.

Who can say? I don’t know who (well, I kinda do) or why someone would take advantage of a mother, or mother-to-be, or mother-to-want-to-be like this. And I don’t know if she is currently trying to feed 10 babies, but it’s the thought that counts.

5. If you’re a tennis fan, it should come as absolutely no surprise that the Most Reviled Sportsperson of the Year award goes to Novak Djokovic. The epitome of male toxicity and court peacockery because of massive insecurities is yet to be vaccinated.

In fact, some reports go as far as to say that he is an anti-vaxxer and does not believe in Covid-19. Evidence for this existed when last year, after all gatherings and sports events were called off, the Serbian decided to have his own tournament with a packed house filled with denialists and superspreaders.

Now, with tournaments back in play and enforced rules that no one can enter without a vaccine passport, the d*ck-swinging Serb will probably be refused entry. I have no problem with this, and long may it last.

6. And, finally (although I could go on and on with this list), the most successful, and arguably, Best Clickbaiter of the Year award goes to Iqbal Survé. We went on and on about him more than he did about himself – and that’s saying something! Well done, Iqbal. You had every journalist by the balls and we happily offered them to you to toss around. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


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