Mzansi Comedian Trevor Noah is the first recipient of the South African of the Year accolade. Calls to vote for four remarkable South Africans who had achieved global recognition in their chosen field went out on social media platform Twitter on Monday 21 September.

Noah was a narrow winner over cricketer AB de Villiers and sprinter Wayde van Niekerk.


“The South African of the Year is someone who with a single phenomenal achievement made you extremely proud of being South African,” says Jan Braai, the man behind the National Braai Day initiative and now the South African of the Year project.

“Our intention is to highlight exceptional performances by South Africans that for a brief moment in time brought the country to a standstill,” says Braai, “those special moments where the hearts of the nation beat together united in pride.”

Noah, already a household name in South Africa, was nominated for reaching even greater heights in 2015 when it was announced in March that he would replace Jon Stewart as the host of Comedy Central’s popular The Daily Show.

“Trevor’s sensational achievement embodies the spirit of the greatest nation on earth,” says Braai. “We can achieve great things in South Africa, Trevor is leading the way, raising our spirits and showing that anything is possible.”

The South African of the Year was chosen by public vote on Twitter, voting ran until midnight on 23 September.

The South African of the Year is a registered trademark, but in tune with the National Braai Day initiative is run as a non-profit project with the sole purpose of enhancing the National Heritage Day public holiday as South Africa’s national day of celebration.

This award is not part of the ANN7 South African of the Year Awards.

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