The Recognition Minute

Be that one! August 28 2019, 0 Comments

On a flight, in a Jumbo, you look around and notice the plane is full.  The first thoughts that cross your mind are about the sheer weight of 400 people.  Then suddenly you realise that cancer affects one in four South Africans and the plane could get a whole lot lighter if 100 people were missing.  25% is a high incidence for any medical condition and particularly worrying when it is cancer.

If the passengers were all men, prostate cancer would be the most prevalent; if they were women, then it would be cancer of the breast.  These are among the ten most common cancers found humans but that is not where it ends.   In excess of 200 types and sub-types of cancer have been described, making treatment choices complex.

So, where, then, does one start in treating this scourge?  It starts with you because early detection is the first step on the road to a good treatment result.  And a high awareness of the disease is essential for early diagnosis. 

Before we look inwards, let’s look backwards for a while - about 3600 years, Egypt.  Some of the earliest descriptions of bone cancer are to be found in early manuscripts and in the remains of mummies.  The world’s earliest recorded case of breast cancer was found in 1500 BC, also in Egypt.  Although there was some attempt at surgery it was clearly palliative and the patient would have most likely not survived.

Fast forward to the middle of the nineteenth century, the dawn of general anaesthesia and the beginning of the golden age of surgery.  For the first time in known history, operations could be performed on unconscious patients.   This was more than encouraging for patients who otherwise would not have presented themselves for radical treatment.  Nevertheless, the crude surgical methods often lead to serious complications and the life expectancy of a cancer sufferer was not improved with surgery alone.

In 1895, we hear, for the first time of those very powerful yet invisible beams, imaginatively labelled X-rays.  And barely a year later, the use of radiation therapy in cancer is being pioneered by a medical student on the basis that radiation kills cells.  Perhaps with surgery and radiation combined, we would see an improvement in the outcome, it was hoped?

Not so fast.  Radiation’s deathly rays killed both cancerous and normal tissue at the same time.  It had to be carefully administered to avoid excess harm.  It was discovered in some cases, when not properly controlled, it would cause tumours.  Tragically, this was further borne out by the death of the medical student, Emil Grubbe, as a result of multiple tumours.

During World War I, Nitrogen Mustard gas was used as a lethal weapon against the entrenched soldiers.  Those who survived needed regular blood transfusions to replace white blood cells, destroyed by the gas.  Paradoxically, this poisonous gas piqued the interest of medical researchers who surmised that any poison that could selectively destroy one type of cell could be useful in the treatment of cancer that targeted that cell.   In this case, the cancer was named Lymphoma.  The weapon, now renamed ‘Mustine’, became the first registered chemotherapeutic agent for cancer.   And with it, another major step forward as medical minds churned on the possibility of a viable, third treatment option for cancers.  Many other drugs appeared in rapid succession, some by design; other by serendipitous chance.

The goal of cancer treatment has changed over the years.  Initially, it was purely palliative, aimed at helping the patient get through the rest of their shortened life with minimal disfigurement or pain and hopefully with some dignity intact.  Subsequently, as treatment options increased, improving life expectancy became a reality.  Most exciting is the fact that some cancer sufferers survive over five years and more leading one to believe that we are seeing cures where before, cancer meant a hard fight for survival, frequently lost.  Surgery - much more refined than in the days when a barber took up the knife – radiation therapy and medicine have all helped to bring us to this point.

But there is another factor, neither so glamourous nor terribly heroic.  Like the X-ray, it is invisible but more powerful and completely harmless.  It is that word AWARENESS.

At the time when the word cancer caused a horrified hush at any dinner party, the very weapon that could rescue one in time was put aside.   The taboo that surrounded cancer was completely counter-productive in detecting cancer in time.  People were hesitant to say the word, rather referring euphemistically to the Big C.   Silence was killing people because silence meant low awareness and delays in detection and diagnosis.

Cancer as a dirty word had to be deleted from our culture and replaced with open conversations which could take place without shame or fear.

A new vocabulary was needed.  And what better than one without words at all.  Nothing culturally bound, risking further taboos; nothing complicated.   Something obvious but unobtrusive.  Simple but versatile.  Universal and accessible to all.  A symbol that begged a conversation!   Enter stage right, the humble ribbon.  Nothing offensive, nothing too brash about the ribbon.  But it is powerful and resilient and endures as long as you wear it.  It expands like spreading light, a beacon to all who do not know that cancer can be beaten.

Have you ever looked at someone and wondered if they could be the one in four and thought about what you could do?  Or have you been with someone who’s diagnosis was cancer and questioned, “What can I do to help?” and felt helpless?  Well, there is a huge amount you can do.  Let me explain.

You can wear a ribbon.  A coloured ribbon that speaks of your support and gets people wondering, talking and growing in awareness.  A sage once said that no raindrop believes it will be a flood.  At times, you might feel that the simple act of wearing a coloured ribbon is purely a raindrop in an ocean of need.  But one ribbon leads to two.  And two lead to four until there is a flood of ribbons urging people to open up the conversation to bring courage and hope. 

You may not be a surgeon, have discovered radiation or the magic bullet for cancer.  You will be one of the most important contributors to the lives of thousands because awareness means early detection, the single most important factor in the successful treatment of cancer to date.

Wear your ribbon with pride.  Keep the conversation alive.  Make a difference!

For a limited time, when you buy a cancer awareness ribbon from Prestige Awards, you’ll be contributing to CANSA and supporting the largest organization looking out for the one in four South Africans who will battle with this disease at some stage in their lives.

For every ribbon sold at R16.00 (inv VAT) Prestige will donate R2.00 to CANSA

Get the 2020 Prestige Awards Schools Brochure July 22 2019, 0 Comments

Twice a year, Prestige Awards publishes a schools brochure which is posted out to over 15000 schools throughout South Africa. This year we've made it easier than ever to get the brochure and get your orders in ahead of the year-end rush.

Onward Comrades June 06 2018, 0 Comments

And it is upon us again.  Sunday, 10 June.  05h30.  The 93rd Comrades Marathon will be underway.

Comrades, affectionately known as the largest human race, is indeed one of the biggest races of it’s kind.  An ultramarathon with 20 000 participants, all with one objective in mind – to finish and receive that elusive medal, the ultimate token of thousands of hours of discipline, sweat, mental strain and bloodletting.  But some will walk away with nothing, except an aching body and an aching heart. 

A fallen comrade is not to be forgotten.  Who can forget that moment?  A marshal, gun in hand, back to the finishing line.  Bunches of runners, resilient and struggling, digging deep to find a remnant of energy from hollow stores.  Deliriously dragging insufficient sinew just a meter more, just one meter more.  Around the corner he wobbles and tries to focus on the line; the cruel finishing line, made thus by a ferocious clock that moves unyielding towards the top.  He may not hold on to anything except his mind, which is blurred and irrational.  Another step, another meter and he falls.  He starts to crawl.  In circles, looking for his way home.  The crowds scream.  Upon his feet again he makes his final charge and falls again.  The hand of that willful clock is seconds from the truth.  He is on his own in a race of hands and knees.  He reaches one more time and touches the line.  The one behind him does not. 

The gun is fired.  The race is dead.  And that is the glory and the agony of Comrades.

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If you are new to running, you may be in awe of those who ran the 100km ultra-marathon.  You may also find them strange for putting their bodies through all that trauma.  So, maybe the Comrades Marathon is not the race with which to begin.  But think about some pointers that could help you along the way to the big one, one day.

Firstly, think about why you want to run.  Is it to raise some money or perhaps to honour someone close to you.  Maybe it is just to improve your health and you have set some goals to help you along the way.  knowing why you are running is important as it will keep you going after the initial excitement of trying something new has worn off.  It will also help you push through the monotony of a tough run, through to the next one.

Secondly, it’s not all about the running.  It is about the stretching, too.  While adapting to a new running routine, stretching before you run will get you warmed up and prepped to go.  Stretching after the run is just as important to help the muscles return to their normal, working length.  Stretching helps prevent injury.

Thirdly, running on your own can be very lonely.  It is the time that you could experience ‘me’ time.  But, if you like the company of people with a similar disposition, join other runners a few times a week.  It will be a time to compare notes and help shake you out of your comfort zone.  You will learn about when to push yourself and when to hold back.  Standing on the starting line with many other runners may feel a little intimidating.  Being with people you know can alleviate unnecessary tension, making the race all the more enjoyable.

Lastly, this can’t be emphasized enough.  Make sure that you have the right running shoes.  Good shoes are shoes that fit well and that support you where you need it most.  Everyone has a running style – the way they strike the ground with their heal, the way they follow through and the way the knees and ankle move inwards or outwards through the cycle of the stride.  Do you overpronate and require a shoe with increased stability?  Possibly you are a supinator.  A nice, neutral cushioned shoe would usually work well.  The shape of your feet will also indicate what type of shoe to look for.  Are they narrow or broad, with a high or low arch?  Today, a good shoe is a shoe that can compensate for the vagaries of our unique bodies and prevent injury when testing yourself in the longer distances.  

Today, it is much easier to take a video of yourself on a treadmill, which can be analyzed in slow motion.  Advice on running shoes is available from reputable sports stores. and an expert can help you decide which shoe would be best.

Apart from light clothing, and a few good pairs of socks, you are ready to go.

Remember, that in addition to having a reason to run, a plan is the next item to think about.  But don’t be afraid to start.  Just start.  Do it!  Start with a light running or walking plan and build up slowly.  Consider walking at first, then add some running and gradually replace the time you walk with running time until you can jog comfortably while holding a conversation.  No need to be out of breath.  Don’t increase your pace and volume to quickly.  Keep it enjoyable!

If in any doubt about your health or if you feel unwell at any stage of your training, seek medical advice.

If you enjoy other forms of exercise, such as swimming or playing sport, don’t stop.  They will help maintain your motivation and may add to your strength, which is important for long-distant running.

Sleep.  yes, get your sleep.  Don’t skimp on sleeping time.  It is an important physiological event that affects your immune system and helps manage inflammation.  Sleep also is necessary to regulate hormones which can affect your appetite and motivation.  Very importantly, the correct amount of sleep will improve your athletic performance.

Balance is important.  Too much training will wear you down instead of building up your strength.  Neither give up sleep for training nor make sleep an excuse for not training.

If this is your first Comrades, Prestige Awards wishes you a very enjoyable down run.  If you are a veteran, fly the flag and may your earn another medal.  If you are a spectator, dream of the trophy for next year.   And get off the couch.  There is a long road ahead!


Raise a glass to crystal! May 16 2018, 0 Comments

The trophy has been a symbol of success for many a century.    From Roman times, when an athlete received a simple wreath to 2018 where achievement is recognized in many fields beyond the arena, including commercial success.

A traditional wreath may look great on an athlete but for the corporate achiever, there is crystal.

On first viewing crystal, you could be forgiven for thinking it was just glass.  You would be pleasantly mistaken to find out that there are a number of differences that make crystal superior to glass, especially when it comes to awards.

Crystal is made in a similar way to glass, using different concentrations of the various components such as silica and lead oxide.  Glass is often slightly green when viewed from an oblique angle, which is caused by the added iron oxide.   Crystal also has different refractive properties to glass which gives it greater clarity and sparkle.

Lead oxide is added to crystal that brings about lovely clarity with no colour tinge.   It appears ‘whiter’ than glass. 

The beauty of crystal trophies is enhanced by including facets in their design.  Similar to a beautifully cut diamond, the crystal appears flawless and pristine and is a magnificent way to signal success in anyone’s eyes.

In keeping with any smart occasion, the crystal can be branded succinctly using sandblasting techniques to create identifiable logos and complimentary text. 

Sandblasting, as the name suggests, is a method of blasting fine sand-like particles against the masked surface.  All exposed areas develop a frosted appearance as the sand is used as a controlled abrasive to ‘sands’ the smooth crystal surface to the desired effect.    

In addition to sandblasting, a brass or silver plaque may be attached to the trophy.  This makes crystals versatile in their application and an excellent option for corporate awards.

Crystal trophies are available in a number of shapes and sizes, each with their own peculiar characteristics.  But whatever shape or size, you won’t be disappointed with a beautifully branded crystal trophy.   And neither will those who receive such a prestigious award.

64 squares, rice and chess May 08 2018, 0 Comments


The game of chess is mystical.  Enchanting.  Strategic. 

A board game of two opposing forces made up of characters such as Knights, Bishops and Pawns.  Then, there is the King and Queen, with the King appearing quite frail and unable to defend himself.  He relies on every other piece on the board to do that.  Including the two Castles (or Rooks as they are sometimes known)

The board is made up of 64 squares in two contrasting colours, which form the matrix on which the battle of chess unfolds. 

Each player controls 16 pieces.   One piece at a time is played alternately from each side, in a strategy to either attack or defend in ultimate pursuit to capture the opposing King; when the winner can shout ‘Checkmate!’

It is rare for a game to end in a draw.  Usually, there is an outright win.  A fight to the death - no compromise. 

How was chess invented?

The story is told about an Indian king who commissioned a mathematician to come up with a new game.   Something challenging that would not bore the king.

The mathematician struggled for months to find something that would satisfy the king.  His final proposal was a game called Chaturanga, now known as chess.  The King loved this game and in response, offered to give the mathematician anything he wished for.  The mathematician, who was desperately poor, asked the king for something simple.  Something of low value.  The mathematician asked for rice.

The king was perplexed.  Rice was a common resource.  Nothing like silver or gold.  The king questioned the mathematician as to whether he would like to reconsider.  All he said was "I would like one grain of rice for the first square of the board, two grains for the second, four grains for the third and so on, doubled for each of the 64 squares of the game board"

"Is that all?  Why don't you ask for gold or silver coins instead of grains of rice?" inquired the king, somewhat perplexed.

"The rice should be sufficient for me," he replied, observing all protocol.

What was the mathematician asking for?

Rice was a staple food.  And it is said that the one who holds the food, holds the gold.  But rice was cheap and plentiful.

The king ordered that the rice to be delivered but by the time he had calculated what it was that the mathematician was asking for, he realized that he would soon run out.  Only halfway across the board, eight billion grains of rice were due to the mathematician.  Who would count it?  Who could carry it?  Was there enough?

“You are indeed a genius," said the King and offered to make the mathematician his most senior advisor as a reward for his ingenuity instead.

In some ways, this sums up the game of chess:  deceptively complex.

It is estimated that there are about ten and 120 naughts (10120) different moves through all the possible games of chess that can be played.  And this is part of the genius of chess.  One can say safely that every single game you play will be different.

Chess is a game that attracts people of all ages and walks of life.

Sparsh Bisht from Gurgaon, India, learned to play chess and participated in a national-level tournament, where he took seventh place in the under sevens category.  He had just turned four.  Remarkable!  On the other end of the scale, the Russian-born Yuri Lvovich Averbakh was the oldest chess grandmaster at 95 (Nov 2017).   His love of chess may just have been what was needed to keep him 'sharp' for so long.

A flair for chess, like mathematics and other core skills, is usually identifiable early on in life.  Before primary school in many cases.  This means that it is one of those activities that can give one a lifetime of pleasure and may never be completely mastered. 

Chess is played recreationally and competitively.  But whatever the format, in the end, it is about who wins and who does not; who gets the trophy, the medal or the certificate and who gets the ‘Better luck next time’.

On a worldwide scale, the unofficial World Chess Championships have claimed this honour since the fifteenth century.  However, the father of the modern World Championships is recognized as Wilhelm Steintz, who was not only a winner but a contributor to the development of chess strategy.  In 1866, he wrested the championship from German Adolf Anderssen, which he defended until 1879 when he lost to Johannes Zukertort of Poland.   The World Championships continue to this day.

Chess may not be the best cardiovascular exercise but it will test your concentration, strategic skills, patience, planning and logic.   One thing is for sure when you have had a stimulating game of chess, win or lose, you will have had a cerebral workout and things won’t be quite the same again.

The coveted trophies, the medals and the symbols of achievement go a long way to encouraging people to play the magnificent game of chess.

The Majestic Eagle Trophy April 26 2018, 0 Comments

An EAGLE is a formidable hunter, an aviator with exceptional eyesight and a caring parent all in one.   This flying machine reaches the heights on invisible thermals of rising air, virtually without beating a wing.   Masters of the heavens, from which eagles swooped while men wondered how he may gain a pair of wings. 

Conquering the mystery of flight has fascinated earth-bound humans for millennia.  

In mythological ancient Greece, the devastating story is told of Icarus and Daedalus who donned feathers, held together with wax.   They soared and swooped and appeared as gods to the mortals below.  All was well for a while before hubris got the better of them.   Too close to the sun, the wax melted and they return to earth, unceremoniously, with a thud!

Apart from the danger of disintegrating wings, man does not have the anatomical structure to support wings large enough for flight and his bones are far too heavy.  The eagle remains king of the air.

Eventually, at the dawning of the age of Renaissance, myth gave way to physics as da Vinci dreamed about a flying machine.   He had observed the birds, wondering how he could join them and designed a bird-like apparatus that he hoped would help humans fly.  These machines had wings and a tail for balance.  Da Vinci hoped that a man would be strong enough to operate the levers that moved the wings.  Whether it ever flew as intended is unlikely but at least there was some physics applied to his design instead of just wax and feathers.

The eagle continued to dominate but the brothers Wright were not daunted.  Two American engineers, inventors and aviator pioneers managed to bring their dream of being buoyed up as if weightless.  On Dec 17, 1903  over Kitty Hawk North Carolina, Orville Wright sustained 12 seconds of flight in man’s first powered aircraft, while Wilbur looked on.

Many had taken to the air before the Wright brother’s famous Kitty Hawk flight.  Some floated in hot-aired balloons, other losing their lives in reckless attempts to beat gravity.  Such was the desire to be like the eagle.

What is it about the eagle that makes it such a master of the air?

An eagle has a relatively large wingspan and a very developed musculature, sufficient to move these impressive wings for liftoff.  With its refined anatomy, it can negotiate the winds and thermals for a sustained length of time.   Their strength and conservation of energy allow for many hours of flight without perching. 

At height, eagles need to be able to see well.  Their eyesight is among the strongest within the animal kingdom, roughly the same size as that of a human but up to eight times acuter.   They have a ‘telephoto’ ability, allowing them to spot small rodents on the ground from great heights.   And when they hunt, they appear with stealth, with devastating speed and scoop up their meal in claws of power, sufficient to crush their victims before dismembering them for food.

Such is the magnificence of an eagle.  And such is the magnificence of the Eagle Trophy which embodies the grandeur of a creature that is a leader in the air, a predator of the earth and a dweller of cliffs. 

The eagle trophy is symbolic of reaching great heights and representative of excellence in execution.   Skilful and merciless in achieving its goal, the eagle remains an icon of celebration, ideal for your awards.   This is why the majestic eagle is a trophy of choice for recognising great achievements, whatever your endeavour.  (Available in Silver or Gold)




Ordering badges - painless and simple April 17 2018, 0 Comments

There are a couple of considerations when ordering a badge.  These include size, shape, materials, and colours?  Will it be engraved or printed and what should the “finish” be?  Oh, one more thing:  How heavy can it be and how will you fasten the badge to your clothing?

Imagine if HIV knowledge spread faster than the disease October 26 2017, 0 Comments

Awareness of HIV and AIDS is crucial to bringing this condition under control.  Wearing a red ribbon will speak for you in bringing HIV and AIDS to the attention of everyone you meet.

3 D Printing - staying ahead September 29 2017, 0 Comments

The first 3D printer can be traced back to 1981 when Hodeo Kodama reported on a system of rapid prototyping using additive technology.  The machine he described was able to lay down, layer by layer in a controlled shape, using a photopolymer.  Photopolymers are light-activated , liquid resins which can be cured with light.  This allows a substance to be extruded in a pliable form and then quickly hardened as it is exposed to light in a very controlled way.

In 1984, Mr Charles Hull patented his printer using stereolithography.  This process uses liquid acrylic, also a photopolymer, solidified by light.

Both these processes are additive in nature as the 3D model is built by adding material, layer upon layer, until the model is built.

Building a model the other way round is also possible, using subtractive technology.  It is a little like carving away all pieces that don’t look like the model and leaving behind a perfect ‘printed’ form.

Whatever process you use, it all starts with a digital design.

3 D DESIGN 3D digital design is a specialized aspect of graphic design and requires the  designer to create the object while considering all dimensions – width, depth and height, and sometimes colour too.

Designing in 3D is aided by software, developed for this purpose.  It allows the designer to create virtually anything that they can imagine and examine the object on the computer screen from all sides.  The design is then converted into a digital file that the 3D printer will ‘understand’. 

This language is a series of sequential code.  The code is made up of multiple thousands of positions or addresses and directs the printer exactly what to do, where and when and at what pace in a three-dimensional space.  This code, or language (numerical control programming) is commonly referred to as G-Code.

G-Code is used in many types of computer-aided manufacturing, directing directs the motors that control mechanisms of the machine, including 3D printers.  This happens every millisecond of the job, ensuring that the final object is exact and complete.

One of the popular means of printing is to use a plastic or corn-starch polymer (PLA) that melts when heated beyond a certain temperature, extruded through a fine nozzle and then dried rapidly.  The find strands are laid down according to the code and eventually form the three-dimensional model.  The finished model is then either be used as a finished product or as the positive mould for casting and replicating the model in another substance such as resin.

Rapid prototyping is one of the areas of 3D printing that is proving most useful.  Until the advent of this method, artists and technicians spent days crafting  and recrafting prototypes.  3D printing has changed much of that as it is quicker and much easier to make changes until the perfect prototype is found.  All changes are made digitally and the printer set to print the model again.

3D printing maybe the factory of the future.  At the moment, it is most effectively used for rapid prototyping, saving many hours of laborious work utilizing the flexibility and scope of digital design.

At Prestige Awards, we regularly use 3D printing to create prototypes for trophies.  Customers can see and feel the model before commissioning the work on the final product whereas before, all we had was a sketch or a picture.  As branding and identity become evermore important to everyone, unique trophies and awards need to be developed to match.

3D printing give us this capability, keeping us ahead of the game!

Glossophobia September 14 2017, 0 Comments

Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. This might be one of the most widely-shared phobias among people.  Strange enough, the thoughts that race through one’s mind when called on to speak is not really the fear of what they will say but rather the fear of silence. Those seconds of quiet that feel like hours!
Among all mammals, humans are unique in having a gift of speech. It seems like such a natural ability. From toddlers, our first words are applauded to the day we die, when our last words are remembered by those who give the eulogies.
How can one begin to overcome the fear of speaking in public?
Some suggestions are:
1. Of course, know your topic. The best topic to start with may be yourself.
2. Get organised. It’s not a crime to have notes. Prepare notes in a way that you will be able to use on the day. Do a little bit of homework about where you will be speaking.
3. Be prepared. That sounds obvious but most people do not spend enough time in adequate preparation. Part of preparation is physical practice. Get comfortable with talking to yourself and talking to an audience will feel great
4. Tackle those specific things that worry you most. That means practice in those areas. Ask yourself what is the very worst that could happen and smile about it! It’s usually not a life at stake.
5. Don’t keep saying, “I hope it will be OK. I hope I won’t forget.” Rather, close your eyes for a moment and see yourself being calm and collected, talking to an audience that really wants to hear you. Visualise your success. 6. Breath. Yes, breath consciously for a while. If we are anxious, we tend to breath shallowly. That makes things worse. Take some slow, deep breaths. Seriously.
7. Now, as hard as it may seem, focus on what you are saying and not on the audience. This does not mean don’t engage the audience at times but concentrate on what you are saying so that you can put out of your mind what the audience is doing. They are probably not doing anything to harm you. Most audiences want you to succeed.
8. Silence is your friend. Five seconds feels like an hour to the speaker. Learn to love the spaces in between the words and not the words only. At the beginning of your talk, plan for some silences and get used to it from the start. It’s a good thing.
9. Be kind to yourself and recognise what you did well. There will always be something you could have done better but find the things you did well first!
10. Befriend a good speaker! Soon you will be winning all the trophies!

A TREE FOR ALL SEASONS August 25 2017, 0 Comments

One does not need travel very far in Johannesburg before seeing a tree. 

It is reported that there are about 1.8 million trees in the greater Johannesburg area populating parks and pavements, and 4.8 million trees planted in private gardens. 

A tree has been a symbol of life and growth since time immemorial and has been the centre of children’s storiesremember the Magic Faraway Tree, religion–Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and of mythology and folkelore.

Trees live on through hundreds of generations.  Until 2013, the oldest individual tree in the world was Methuselah, a 4,845-year-old pine in California.

There is no doubt that the tree has come to represent many things to many people and nations across the globe, from the Willow in Japan to the Maple in Canada.

What does a tree mean to you?  What does it mean to us?

For us, a tree is a symbol of success and reward.  Hard work and diligent practice deserves an award and what better award than a tree?!  It is synonymous with the journey of achievement.  First, ideas are seeded.  With some nurturing the sapling emerges to strive skyward, resisting winds and torrents, cycling through Autumn, Winter, Summer and Spring.  In time, it bears fruit but it never stops growing.  The journey of success is frequently rewarded but it is never done.

The trophy featured below is cut from aluminium in three different sizes, or according to customers’ requirements.  Mounted on a solid black plinth, there is ample room for a plaque or other insignia, where names or logos can be featured to help bring the tree to life.

As with the great Redwoods of California, a unique award allows the recipient to stand tall among peers, recognizing achievement that comes through striving, perseverance and time.

We think you’ll agree.  The tree is a wonderful trophy for all seasons!   

Aluminium Tree

A South African invention that went to the moon July 27 2017, 0 Comments

South Africa, like many countries, is peppered with events that formed it into what it is today.  Good and bad events that helped steer the country in a number of interesting directions and carve out a history to remember.  The past brought a number of achievements, including inventions that helped change not only South Africa but the world.

One such invention is the now famous Pratley Putty, invented by a South African Engineer, George Pratley.   His product is widely used; from here to the moon and back!   

Originally called Pratley Plastic Putty, it was developed as an insulator and an adhesive agent for fixing brass terminals inside electrical junction boxes.  In 1965, Pratley built a robot from scrap metal, which he called Humphry.  Humphry was held together – very firmly – by Pratley Putty!  This invention had proved to be so effective that In 1969, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he had with him a bit of South Africa in the form of this amazing putty.   NASA included it in the Apollo 11’s Eagle landing craft.  An endorsement out of this world!

Perhaps less known is the fact that this same substance was used to stop the cracking in one of the main supports of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco.   Now that is no ordinary bridge!

While best known for his putty, his inventions were numerous including the world’s first chemical-delay igniter as well as a whole lot of fun stuff.

Today, his legacy goes on through the company he formed, Pratley Engineering that manufactures 800 products and owns 300 registered patents.  It has won a number of awards including a Technology Top ten in 1993.  Awards are what we like and we like to honour those who deserve the trophies and the gold medals.

We have much to be proud of, not least our inventors who's legacy lives on for all to see and enjoy.

Prestige Awards loves achievement.   And we would love to be part of yours.


Awards for South Africans July 21 2017, 0 Comments

May I state the obvious?  We live in interesting times.  As always!

The history of South Africa has given us lots to talk about.  The wildness of the terrain has yielded so much to see.  Diverse people live together in this colourful nation.

As South Africans, we have shown great resourcefulness in finding solutions to problems over the decades, even centuries.  So, a little about our heritage of success, for which we could be forgiven for awarding ourselves a medal.  No, make that a huge, silver trophy!

3 December 1967, on the tip of our African continent, Dr Chris Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant.  It was uncharted territory.  A domain unexplored in humans.  It was very risky since once he had removed the patients failing heart, there was no turning back.  Either the recipient would never wake up or they would wake up with a functioning heart.  If the heart did beat and give life, how well and for how long?  There was no precedent.  No one knew.

Louis Washkansky did wake up  and Dr Barnard became the first ever to succeed in transplanting a human heart into another person.  Kudos, trophies, medals and plenty of certificates all round.  Barnard became an international celebrity and performed another ten heart transplants, one of the patients surviving for 23 years.

Another Doctor, Dr Selig Percy Amoils created a new method of cataract surgery, using his cryoprobe.  He developed this method at Baragwanath Hospital and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Technological Innovation in 1975.  His invention gave back sight to many, who could now enjoy their successes in the light.  This put South Africa on the world’s stage of medical advancement again.  His invention has since been on display in the Kensington Museum in London.

Another exceptional advancement in medical technology was the CAT scan.  This was developed in Cape Town by physicist Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield.  It required medical and mathematical skill and innovation in order to achieve their goal: a scanner that could scan the whole body and translate the data into meaningful images.  These scans were clearer than static X-Ray plates and took the medical world a leap forward in diagnostic ability.

Their work also deserved an enormous trophy and was recognized through a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

A CAT scanner is used routinely today in the diagnosis and management of many medical conditions and allows for much better and more specific treatment.

One more South African medical invention:  The Smartlock safety syringe. 

The Smartlock syringe automatically retracts the needle into a sheath and locks it in place as the needle is withdrawn the patient.  Therefore, no needle caps to place over used needles or a specific ‘sharps’ disposal container.  This meant safety for all concerned.

Interesting times indeed.   May our people continue earning awards for South Africa, whether in science or culture, sport or engineering.

In our next blog post, I will feature some other, world-renowned inventions by South Africans who deserve the gold medal of innovation and the trophy of success!

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela July 18 2017, 0 Comments

So much has been written about former President Nelson Mandela and for good reason.  So, I thought that on what would have been his 99th birthday, I would simply let the man speak for himself.  Here are some of his quotes, which live on for us:

  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  • It always seems impossible until it's done.
  • For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
  • After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
  • A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
  • There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
  • If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. 

Comrades of South Africa who won The Medal July 13 2017, 0 Comments

In 1921, Bill Rowan, the first Comrades winner, crossed the finish line in Eight Hours and Fifty-Nine Minutes.  He was one of 16 runners to finish the race and went on to represent South Africa at the 1924 Paris Olympics.  A piece of history was carved into the records on that 24th of May, an event commemorated each year to this day.

Until 1962, the winner’s medal was awarded to South Africans mostly.  Between ’62 and ’72, three Brits took the first gold medal, all finishing in under six hours.  In 1965, a lady crossed the finish line in top position for the first time – her time: 10:07.  That was Mavis Hutchinson.

Familiar names such as veteran Wally Hayward, Allan Rob and of course, Bruce Fordyce have been inscribed in the history books as winners and legends of this ultra-marathon.  Eight successive wins for Fordyce from ’81 – ’88 set an exceptionally challenging record for the future, which is not likely to be beaten any time soon.  His finish times remained reasonably consistent throughout with race no. 8 being close to his personal best, a remarkable achievement.

In 1989, Samuel Tshabalala took first place among the men and Frith van der Merwe received her gold medal in 5:54 on the down run; her second Comrades win and an improvement of 38 minutes over the previous year which was an up run.  Tshabalala was the first Black South African contender to win Comrades.

There are many names not mentioned here who have helped place South Africa first in the medal and trophy stakes.  Names such as Moshiywa, Mamabolo, and Ngomane come to mind.  Among the ladies, let’s not forget Maureen Holland, Lindsay Weight, Caroline Wostman and Charne Bosman.

In 2014, Bongamusa Mthembu wins his first Comrades in 5:28:34.  In his own words, it took him eight years to win.  He started as a brick layer and ran to keep healthy.  Latest achievements include gold medal status in six marathons since 2012 and of course, his latest victory, a gold medal for his win in 2017.

Gold Medals and Trophies are for the few but what would the Comrades Marathon be without the thousands who support and cheer and hand out water and energy bars as the winners run by.  And who are the winners?  Those who put in the hours of training before the great race; those who finish before the gun and those who tried but missed their award, who pick themselves up and try again.

Prestige Awards salutes all our South African Comrades.

For athletics medals with a South African flavour (athletics image with SA Flag colours ribbon), see: and the new Mzanzi medal:


Wayde van Niekerk – a true South African wears the medals July 10 2017, 0 Comments

 Do you remember, August 2016?  Round about the middle of the month in Rio when a true South African stormed to victory.  Wayde van Niekerk not only won the gold medal but set a new world record, covering 400 meters in 43.03 seconds! 

This was a momentous occasion for the South African medalist as a world-class winner and the owner of the first gold medal in a track event for South Africa in 96 years.  The previous record achieved by Michael Johnson over this distance had stood since 1999.

Minutes later, Usain Bolt ran the 100m in only 9.81 seconds, the third in a series of 100m titles.  Wining trophies and medals was in the air.

Wayde was inspired by Bolt’s achievements and spent time in Jamaica training with him.  “My favourite event is the 200m so I would love to race him one day when I am big,” said the fastest man ever over 400m.

It was earlier in the year that Wayde became the first athlete to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, the 200m in under 20 seconds and the 400m in under 44 seconds.  Imagine the pleasant weight of three gold medals around your neck!

Now, he has added one more: a gold for the 300m in sub 31 seconds and has become the first man in history to hold the title over all four distances.  What an exceptional athlete.

Wayde is humble in his achievement and readily acknowledges that there were significant others including Glen Mills, Usain Bolt’s coach in Jamaica.  Back home, another true South African and unlikely coach, his white-haired grandmother, Ans Botha.  This combination proved to be dynamite for van Niekerk.

We salute you Wayde!  May these records again be confirmed and beaten by you, a proudly South African man and a role model to many, young aspiring athletes. 

For athletics medals with a South African falvour (athletics image with SA Flag colours ribbon), see: and the new Mzanzi medal:


Mzanzi May 26 2017, 0 Comments

Friday.  Great weather.  And two days to enjoy it.

Weekend, the traditional time for South Africans to gather, braai, quench their thirst and think about what life might be like in the snow.  Then, grateful for the sun, the boerie and the beer, realise that life in Mzanzi is still good.

If you are in Cape Town, perhaps you will take a walk up a mountain somewhere.  And when you summit, reward yourself with the view, the breeze and the thought that it is all downhill from there.  You will have earned your medal!

If you are in Durbs, maybe a walk along the beach front.  There is still time for a dip in the warm current off the Eastern border.  Take part in a race through the hills or cycle to the Wild Coast and back.  And when you are done, reward yourself with a glass of cool mineral water, ice and lemon.  You have earned your medal.

Perhaps you are somewhere in Mpumalanga, among the citrus fruit and the pecan nut trees.  Hiking through the gorges in search of a waterfall.  Being on foot is challengin but it’s worth it because you too will have earned your medal.  You will enjoy untouched lands of green moss and fresh spring water.  An award or excellence.  Nature’s gold medal to you.

But what if you are in Johannesburg?  No mountain.  No river.  No sea.  How will you earn your medal?  Do no despair!  This is where life happens, too.  This is the buzz, the spark, the noise, the music.  Restaurants and clubs, movies and shows, gyms and park runs and loads more.  Any number of ways of earning your medal.  If it’s your time to just kick up the feet and chill and still want a medal, all you have to do is visit and buy one.  All possible without moving from the couch. 

Wherever you are in Mzanzi, there will be a medal.  

Look out for the special Mzanzi from Prestige Awards – coming soon!





Clever Boys Take the Trophy May 18 2017, 0 Comments

The beautiful game was taken to new heights last night when Bidvest Wits made their debut by winning their first Premiership title in the club’s history.  Goals from James Keene and Daine Klate no doubt swelled Gavin Hunt’s pride in his clever boys. 

It was a long, tough fight.  They stumbled in December by moving sideways with four draws.  In good form and spirit, Hunt’s never-say die attitude caught on.  Fortuitously assisted by a draw between Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns, they pulled through and raised the trophy on a convincing win of two goals to nil. 

By all accounts, this won’t be the last time that awards and accolades will be seen by this club.  A win at this stage is a great confidence booster.  Fitness is one thing and the lack of it can be a barrier to the sight of any trophy.  But the corporate psychy plays a very important role and that battle is won, for now.

We are proud to have shared in the success of the Absa PSL as designers and manufacturers of the custom-made Man of the Match trophy using 3D technology and our in-house skilled designers and skilled technicians.   A truly South African design, made by South Africans for a South African team.  We congratulate you and acknowledge Absa as sponsor, without who’s help, these beautiful events would not be possible.

A masterpiece called Mom May 11 2017, 0 Comments

What is the perfect gift for Mom?  A collection of items are available, such as a pedi-set, a special tool kit, also in beautiful pink and aluminium photo frame.  How about a “Keep Calm thermos coffee mug or a crystal champagne flute with Mom’s name neatly sandblasted on the base.

Mother’s day is an ideal time to say to Mom 'I appreciate you, I love you and so pleased you are my Mom.'  And if you can't think of a gift, take some time.  Give some time.

Mom’s are the unsung heroes of ages past.   There is a story from the imagination of someone who really understood Moms, ―Erma Bombeck.

She said said…

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." 

And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts... all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers.  Have a lap that disappears when she stands up.  A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair.  And six pairs of hands." 

The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands... no way." 

"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." 

"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded. 

"One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows.  Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say.  'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." 

"God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...." 

"I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself.  Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick... can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger... and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." 

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed. 

"But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure." 

"Can it think?" 

"Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator. 

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. 

"There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model." 

"It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear." 

"What's it for?" 

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." 

"You are a genius," said the angel. 

Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.”





A trophy is a trophy when… April 24 2017, 0 Comments

What makes a good trophy?  It is a sign of achievement.  It is a means of communication.  It is also a work of art.  It may even be central to your brand.  Both traditional and non-traditional trophies share these aspects in common.   What makes them different is style.  And what makes them good - it's up to you!

Traditional trophies are typically in the form of a cup or a chalice, usually silver of gold in colour if not in substance and stand proud on a base.  The base may be reserved for insignia, names of winners, dates, possibly quotes and other engraving.  It gives a platform on which the trophy can stand, a sort of ‘red carpet’ or it's special shoe.

It is important that a trophy has height.  Height speaks of a big win, a great achievement.  It is more visible.  Like all good trophies, it boasts about the winner and certifies success.  This is not only true for traditional trophies but for any custom-made award as well.

Some organisations choose to break with tradition and design their trophies using contemporary materials such as acrylics, crystal or aluminium.  This allows for many different shapes and sizes, to break with tradition and stand out in a crowd.  The corporate brand can be included in the shape or colours of the trophy, making it all the more unique.

To be different, one can have a pair of shoes bronzed and mounted with a plaque describing the purpose of the trophy.   In keeping with a South African theme, animal statuettes can be beautifully incorporated, representing values such as strength, dexterity, ingenuity or speed.  Or, how about a sports emblem such as a cricket ball or boxing glove?

Whatever your need, if it is in the line of trophies, there is something available for you.  If not already made, you can have it designed and made with our help.    Have a look at a few examples here:





A GOLDEN TROPHY FOR NETBALL April 20 2017, 0 Comments

This month we see the start of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (#BFNPL) and this is the Trophy they will be shooting for!! This custom-designed trophy depicts the three pillars of excellence – tuned body, tuned mind, tuned spirit.  It is slender and tall, symbolic of reaching skyward towards the goals; the path to victory and achievement.  The beautiful netball crowns the golden trophy, supported by the three pillars of excellence which are reminiscent of the players in full stretch for the netted hoops.

The wining team can look forward to owning this trophy, if only for a moment.  Proof that they are tops. This trophy will entice and lure the players to run, throw and shoot all in the name of netball and success and sportsmanship, one of the marks of our beautiful country.  And it promises to be Brutal!


Easter April 12 2017, 0 Comments

At this time of the year, awarding trophies might be furthest from your mind. It is school holidays.  The extra long, long weekend is just around the corner and many people will be out of town, enjoying some well-deserved recreation and family time.

Easter is a time of deep reflection for many people around the globe.   We share those sentiments as we think about the meaning of this season.  It is both a solemn occasion and a celebration.  But the celebration is not because of a race won or trophy earned.  Neither are any there any medals.  It is simple and profound; a time to remember redemption for both Christians and Jews.

So, may we take this opportunity to wish our Jewish customers and friends chag semeach this Pesach and our Christian customers and friends a truly blessed Easter.

Wherever you may travel, be safe.  We hope to see you soon, rested and refreshed.


A Brutal Netball Trophy April 07 2017, 0 Comments

Netball is a sport played and contested in relatively few countries internationally.  South Africa is one of them!

This month we see the start of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (#BFNPL) in Durban.   Two opening matches on the 21st of April kick off the tournament – or should I rather say ‘shoot off’. 

This year they will be playing for a custom-designed trophy that depicts the three pillars of excellence – tuned body, tuned mind, tuned spirit.  It is slender and tall, symbolic of reaching skyward towards the goals; the path to victory and achievement.  The beautifully crafted netball crowns the golden trophy, supported by the three pillars of excellence which are reminiscent of the players in full stretch for the netted goals.

The wining team can look forward to owning this trophy, if only for a moment, as proof that they have summited. This trophy will entice and lure the players to run, throw and shoot all in the name of the game of netball for the sake of success and sportsmanship, one of the marks of our beautiful country.  And it promises to be Brutal!


Netball April 04 2017, 0 Comments

Netball is a fast, exciting, true team sport that involves throwing, running, jumping and catching.

Netball may be considered similar to basketball but how similar is a matter worth noting.  Some differences are found in the equipment and number of players in the team.  Dribbling is not allowed, no running with the ball; 7 players per team; ball must be passed in 3 seconds; ball and basket are slightly smaller; there is no backboard; players are designated to certain areas of the court.  Netball also has similarities to European handball, korfball and ultimate frisbee.

Traditionally, in South African schools, netball was the winter sport reserved mainly for girls.  While boys played rugby or soccer, the girls tackled netball.  Unlike Rugby, Netball is not a contact sport.  Players play the ball, strictly, and not the man.  But strength and fitness are key, as with most sports that require physical exertion.

Recognition is given in the form of trophies and medals, which are awarded to players and teams alike. Now is the time to think about what your trophies will look like.

Trophies come in many shapes and sizes, traditional and unique.  Custom trophies can be designed from the base up, so to speak, in a choice of many different materials.  Materials frequently chosen are acrylic (Perspex), aluminium and wood.  So don’t confine your thinking to a cup or a statuette if you are looking for something a little different.  There is so much more to make netball special this season!

Have a look here:

Add spirit to your hockey game with a netball trophy from Prestige Awards.