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Thursday, December 6, 2012


(Caroline Smart receives her award from Michelle Naidoo of ABSA Bank)

On November 17, the Indian Academy of South Africa held its annual Nataraja Awards ceremony in which the Academy honours those who have made a distinguished contribution to South Africa and especially the nation’s Indian community. This year’s Nataraja Awards went to Sinthal Ramiah, Steven Govender, Louise Nair and A V Mahomed.

Forming part of the same awards evening, The Golden Peacock Achiever Awards are presented to younger people – those rising to great heights in the fields of Commerce, Industry, Banking and The Arts.

Among the awardees was artSMart owner/editor Caroline Smart for her long-term support of the Academy’s activities as well as for her dedication to the arts in KZN. Other recipients of The Golden Peacock Award were Neville Nair, Mala Lutchmanan and Deena Naidoo.

While the glittering evening was presented in true Indian Academy style, it was a bittersweet event as it paid tribute to the Academy’s founder and prime mover, Dr T P Naidoo, who passed away earlier this year on May 10.

“I feel deeply honoured that the Academy should have recognised me in this way,” says Smart. “Dr Naidoo and I had a long working relationship dating back to the mid 1980’s when I started assisting him in applying for funding from the various national funding bodies. I was always impressed by his tireless and selfless drive to promote classical Indian music and dance through The Indian Academy. His vision knew no bounds and it is a great comfort to me that he was recognised in his own lifetime, unlike many people of vision.”

Dr TP Naidoo founded the Academy in 1960 in the firm belief that the future of the Indian community lay in immediately uniting the 800,000 Indians then living in South Africa. The Academy has gone on to play a pivotal role in the Indian community through its annual Heritage Series and numerous music concerts, many of which feature experts in classical Indian music and dance from India.