By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo – MoneyGram International, one of the leading international money transfer companies, was unveiled on 9 February 2012 as the 2012 Headline Sponsor for second edition of Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA). At the press conference held at MoneyGram’s London headquarters chaired by Dr. Knox Chitiyo, the Africa Fellow and head of the Africa Programme at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall, London and Chairman of the Britain- Zimbabwe Society (BZS), the panel comprising the ZAA CEO Conrad Mwanza, MoneyGram Marketing Director Richard Levy, ZAA Panel Chairman Zeb Manatse and Peter Soko, a founding member of the ZAA as well as the producer of the event, discussed the partnership as well as announcing the key dates leading up to the main event on 28 April 2012 and promising an even more star-studded evening of celebrations.
Speaking of the involvement of MoneyGram who were one of the supporters of the annual awards show last year and return as the headline sponsor this year, Conrad Mwanza said, “We are delighted to welcome MoneyGram as the new Headline Sponsor of what will now be called the ‘MoneyGram Zimbabwe Achievers Awards.’ MoneyGram’s involvement with ZAA proves its ongoing commitment to engaging and supporting the community. Their support of this event helps to strengthen an already growing relationship with the Zimbabwean community.”
MoneyGram’s Richard Levy echoed similar sentiments, “It’s our great pleasure to be the Headline Sponsor of Zimbabwe Achievers Awards; we think it is fantastic that we are able to give back to the community in this way and to show our support. One of the key point objectives for MoneyGram is to show that we are not only a significant company but we also significantly like giving back to the communities. It is our pleasure to sponsor these awards as the Headline Sponsor and for the second year running. We hope to see as many people as possible there and we’d like to promote that MoneyGram is backing the community, supporting the Zimbabweans and encouraging great achievement.”
Zeb Manatse took over after to thank the public for the record number of nominations for this year and shed light on the nominations procedure, ensuring that “the whole process is not just a popularity contest but it is actually [about] people making contributions within their various fields.” Manatse also took the opportunity to name the re the recipients of two specific awards, Chairman’s Honorary Award which recognises people who have made significant contributions over a long time and Friends of Zimbabwe Award which recognises those not necessarily Zimbabwean but have made significant contributions to the development of Zimbabwe, awarded this year respectively to Strive Masiyiwa, the founder and chairman of Econet and Professor Terence Ranger, emeritus fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford and president of the Britain Zimbabwe Society.
Peter Soko, the event producer, then shed light on the journey to the grand finale on 28 April announcing the key dates in the ZAA calendar, the very first being the public announcement of the final nominees on 25 February 2012 to take place at The Drift, Heron Tower as a public event for which guests can register on the ZAA website to attend.
Soko also highlighted that the early bird tickets for the awards night taking place at 5* The Grange Tower Hill hotel on 28 April are now on sale for £65 only from the ZAA website and will remain at this discounted price till 2 March after which date they will be sold at the full price of £80.
“Last year’s event was phenomenal in terms of entertainment,” Soko said, “We need to make sure this year’s event is four times better, so what I can assure you is four times better entertainment,” in response to our question of what to expect on the night.
“I can assure you that the ‘who’s who’ of the Zimbabwean community and of the African community and mainstream celebrities will be in attendance,” Conrad Mwanza added. Alluding to the iPhone analogy he made last year in relation to improving the event, Mwanza also said the aim was “to take [the event] to iPhone 4s” with a 5* hotel as the venue, committed media partners for the event and Zimbabwean actress Chipo Chung as the presenter on the night.
“ZAA was born out of a simple vision: to recognise those Zimbabweans who are working very hard to make other fellow Zimbabweans proud, and minus the negative press, Zimbabweans do quite a lot, Zimbabweans are high achievers, forward-thinkers; you find them in all the institutions in high positions. This is what we wanted to highlight. Like any other household, there could be problems, but what about the good things that Zimbabweans do? Who is going to recognise that? This is where ZAA answers that question, so it is more about the positive element of what Zimbabweans do. We wanted to celebrate the positive within the community, bring that pride within the community,” Mwanza added, explaining the importance of the vision behind the ZAA.
Marketing and Sales Director of ZAA, Josh Chigwangwa also took the opportunity during the q&a session following the sponsorship introduction to announce another first for the ZAA: a special ZAA magazine on the night which will be presented to all the guests attending the event.
The press conference which was broadcast live via Ustream was followed with drinks and nibbles as most guests stayed on to network and enjoy an afternoon with the ZAA team.
MoneyGram Money Transfer www.moneygram.com
Econet Mobile UK www.econetmobile.com
Chairman’s Honorary Award
Friends of Zimbabwe Award
Prof Terence Ranger
FAB Magazine www.fabmagazineonline.com
Charities Supported for 2012:
Africa Baobab Foundation www.africanbaobabfoundation.org
Girl Child Network www.girlchildnetworkworldwide.org
Ruzario Memorial Trust www.ruzariomemorialtrust.org
Save the Rhino Int www.savetherhino.org
Public Nomiantions Announcement and Awards Launch Party
Saturday 25 February 2012, 6pm – to attend www.zimachievers.com
The Drift, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street EC2N 4A