Nigeria: Gift of the Givers Founder Imtiaz Sooliman Named 2023 Daily Trust African of the Year

A South African doctor, Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, has been declared winner of the 2023 Daily Trust African of the Year Award

He was chosen out of nine finalists drawn from a list of 736 nominations received at the end of the first phase of the selection process for the award in October, 2023.

He is a medical doctor who gave up his career to pursue the field of humanitarian aid, which for him transcends the boundaries of race, religion, culture, class and geography.

The six-member Selection Board of the Daily Trust African of the Year, which was chaired by the Executive Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media Incorporated, Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba, in acting capacity, announced the emergence of the medical doctor as the winner on Friday, following a virtual meeting of the Board held on November 20, 2023.

A statement issued by the Secretariat of the Daily Trust African of the Year Award and signed by the Ag. Group Chief Executive Officer of the Media Trust Group, Ahmed I. Shekarau, said: “After careful consideration of the works of the nine finalists, the Selection Board has unanimously decided that Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, a South African medical doctor who gave up his career to pursue the field of humanitarian aid, is the deserving winner of the 2023 African of the Year Award.”

Shekarau described Dr Sooliman as “a worthy and exemplary humanitarian, characterised by his solid belief in the common humanity that unites people of the world.

“He has guided the Gift of the Givers Foundation for more than 30 years to respond to and dispatch humanitarian and medical supplies to disaster areas on the continent and abroad,” the statement reads.

It further explained further that Dr Sooliman and his relief workers have since 1992 identified with, and provided relief materials wherever disasters strike, saying,

“From the provision of food parcels in impoverished communities in South Africa to search and rescue teams and medical specialists in response to natural and man-made disasters, Gift of the Givers has shown commitment to alleviating human sufferings in varying contexts.”

It cited examples of the Foundation’s interventions in Turkey, shortly after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 6th February, 2023; the provision of food parcels, potable water, mattresses, clothing and hygiene packs to community members affected by the devastating flooding in Komani (formerly Queenstown) in Eastern Cape of South Africa, in February, 2023; as well as notable interventions in Libya, in the wake of the distressing flooding of September 11, 2023 in Shahhat City.

The Gift of Givers has since the outbreak of the October 7, 2023 war in Gaza Strip equally been providing humanitarian support to victims, resulting in the killing of the head of its relief workers in the Region, Ahmed Abbasi, on the 16th of November, 2023.

Among the nine finalists are Qabale Duba, a Kenyan Nurse/Epidemiologist by profession, who is using the Qabale Duba Foundation to educate nomadic pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya; and Tatenda Ndambakuwa, a Zimbabwean Mathematician and Urban Planner, who is passionate about ending hunger, and is using her organization called Shiri, a digital platform, to connect farmers to critical resources like weather updates, market prices, and farming tips.