Gustav Wilson: 2018 Kovsie Ambassador's Award

Regional Head: Development and Care (Offender Programmes): Department of Correctional Services Free State/Northern Cape

Educational Background:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work: University of the Free State (in progress)

  • Master of Social Sciences in Social Work: University of the Free State (2000)

  • Bachelor of Social Sciences in Social Work: University of the Free State (1995)

Gustav Wilson's academic background in social work is well-suited to his work with the development and care of offenders, as is his desire to help young people to make the right choices and improve their lives.

Wilson launched the “I dare you to choose life campaign” in June 2012. The project is based on the scripture Deuteronomy 30:19, and is dedicated to all the young men and women in Heidedal, his home suburb, and beyond, who dare to choose life despite adversities. The project is also dedicated to those who realise they were not born to fit in but to stand out, irrespective of their circumstances or environment in which they grew up.

In 2015 he partnered with the University of Free State (UFS) Postgraduate Research Council to realise his dream for a group of inmates to change their destinies for the better by helping them complete their matric.

Wilson has a string of achievements, starting in Grade 12, when he was an exchange student to the US from July 1989 to July 1990. Since then he has received numerous awards over the years including the Bloemfontein Mayoral Award for Community Development in November 1996; the Batho Pele Award during the Inaugural Corrections Excellence Awards of the Department of Correctional Services in March 2008; the Deputy Minister’s Award, March 2007/2008; the National Commissioner’s Award, 2009/2010; the Heidedaller of the Year Award in November 2011; the SA Man of the Year Award in 2017 and the Unashamedly Ethical Award in 2017 for good governance and ethical conduct in government.

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