The Cape Argus, 6 October 2002, Schoolgirl scoops award for Aids work, By Douglas Carew

St Cyprian's headgirl Nqobani Mkhwanazi has been awarded the inaugural Human Dignity Award by St George's Cathedral.

Mkhwanazi, an HIV/Aids activist, received the award and a cheque for R10 000 from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the cathedral on Friday night.

Mkhwanazi faced stiff opposition from six other HIV/Aids activists, caregivers and organisations nominated by Leah Tutu, Sue van der Merwe, Pat Francis, Reverend Chris Ahrends, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Dr Tami Tisani, Reverend Rowan Smith and Patricia de Lille.

"In a democratic nation rights and responsibilities go hand in hand," Mkhwanazi said on receiving the award.

The award showed that pupils at the school for girls in Oranjezicht made a difference, she said.

"We are out there to uphold justice and human dignity," Mkhwanazi said.

Mkhwanazi collected food parcels for a support group for teenage mothers with HIV/Aids and was the driving force behind the Aids awareness lobby at her school.

The ceremony, to reward outstanding contributions in the fight against the Aids pandemic in the Western Cape, was marked by no-shows from representatives of two of the nominees - the Treatment Action Campaign and the Beautiful Gate Ministry.

The other nominees included Yoliswa Figlan from the Fikelela Aids Project. Figlan is a spiritual councillor to those suffering with HIV/Aids at St Luke's Hospice and Conradie Hospital.

Wola Nani, which provides counselling, home care and income generating opportunities for HIV/Aids sufferers was also nominated as was David van Neel of the Joan Cousin HIV/Aids Mission which caters for over 250 000 people a year.

The final nominee was Desiree Daniels, who spearheads Old Mutual's HIV/Aids programme and is also involved with loveLife and the South African Coalition in HIV/Aids.

Reverend Rowan Smith, Dean of Cape Town, said: "The cathedral will continue to challenge everyone in the city to examine their attitudes and values towards those whose lives are heavily burdened."