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Vision Awards Dinner Report


Left to right: OB Malope, Prof Paul Ramkissoon, Prof Jannie Ferreira, Dr Dirk Booysen, Marolize Botha, Faith Chabedi, Bonita Lutzka, Leoni Joubert, Prof Wayne Gillan, Prof Bill Harris

I am writing this the morning after. Six months of planning and then it is all over in a wink.

The evening was superbly handled by our MC, Peter Brauer.

There exists a strong consensus that the concept of the Awards Dinner was much needed and long overdue. The response by revelers was heartwarmingly fantastic. The evening was filled with Jazz, Rock and Roll, fine food, wine, and of course the Awards Ceremony. Many new acquaintances were made, and old ones renewed. At its core, the event had the mission of honouring those who so richly deserve it. The spin off was the rubbing of shoulders by people from different businesses, groups, practices and organisations. The evening worked because of the wholehearted support by suppliers – a huge thankyou to them for sponsoring tables. Congratulations to all the Award Recipients.

The Winners

The response by the winners in receiving the awards, was testimony to the appreciation and value attached by them. It was both emotional and inspiring to witness the acceptance comments. Optometry has a lot of catching up to do as far as recognising its greats are concerned. There are many whose time will come in due course.

Distinguished Achievement Award

Prof Bill Harris
Prof Paul Ramkissoon

Distinguished Service Award

Dr Dirk Booysen
Prof Wayne Gillan

Optometrist of the Year

Leoni Joubert

Community Service Award

Prof Jannie Ferreira
Faith Chabedi

Young Optometrist of the Year

OB Malope
Marolize Botha

Supplier of the Year

The Contact Lens Company of SA

Best Contributor to Vision Magazine

Dr Paul Ramkissoon


The event was oversubscribed with 210 people attending. It was very pleasing, that so many different organisations and businesses were represented on the evening. It was nice to have Audience Maluleke, President of the SAOA as well as Preggie Naidoo, CEO of Iso Leso in attendance.


It will be most valuable to receive some feedback from guests. One can only learn from experience and your comments would be most welcome. See Letters to the Editor for comments 

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The Awards Selection Process

Ed – There appears to be have been some confusion with respect to the Awards selection process. To this end, the following information:

Arriving at a winner in a category cannot only depend on the number of votes the nominee attracted. If it did, it would rubbish the prestige and value the Vision Awards should carry. In practical terms, it would mean that a junior lecturer, nominated by a friend, could garner the most votes in a category and then be declared winner against, for instance, an internationally acclaimed scientist. Online voting therefore represents a small percentage of the weighting in the final decision. The online voting results is clearly a function of the degree of canvassing. There was no identity control or barrier as to who could vote, because the intention was to open the process to suppliers as well. As such, the online voting result alone, could hardly be seen as a true reflection of the worthiness of a particular candidate as winner of an award.

However, online voting presents the opportunity to showcase all the nominees and demonstrate their achievements by way of biographies.

There has to be far more to it. Factors such as, mode of practice, clinical areas of interest, post graduate qualifications, research, publications, presentations, international recognition, years of service in a particular discipline, office bearer in recognised organisations, and membership of international professional entities such FAAO, must be taken into account. Then there is community service and public service as well.

It is also important to recognise that the awards are made on behalf of the profession of optometry, not Vision Magazine. A panel decides on the winners.

Vision Magazine is and will remain, the proud host of the Vision Awards Dinner.