Acclaimed choreographer Paul Modjadji, dance sensation and director of Dare to Dream, is the recipient ofthe 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts.
Modjadji was among five extraordinary individualshonoured at the prestigious annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards at the Waterfront in Cape Town on Thursday. The gala event, which has established itselfas the Oscars of the philanthropy sector over the past nine years, was initiated by Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement, to acknowledge, celebrate and honour those whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in our country.
Modjadji ’s passion for the arts is matched only by his dedication and commitment to uplifting young talent from the townships across South Africa. He established the Dare to Dream Foundation five years ago with the intention ofempowering young people to follow their own dreams by offering free art, drama and leadership programmes to disadvantaged youngsters in Hammanskraal, north ofPretoria, where he grew up. Since then, he has reached more than 10 000 young people across South Africa.
A two-time world dance champion, Modjadji was honoured in August this year by US President Barack Obama, who presented him with the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders Award at a ceremony in Washington. Over the past two years, Modjadji has been crowned top dancer globally by the New York-based Talent America Showcase and he has made history by being crowned the first African dancer to win the European Star Dance Union World Championships.
Modjadji expressed his modesty after winning the prestigious award by citing the importance of each of us remembering we have a responsibility to play our partin creating the Africa we all want to see.
Modjadji’s next project is to raise funds to build dance academies in South African townships. Inyathelo executive director Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said all ofthe awardees demonstrated initiative and leadership, and have used their personal funds in a strategic way to make a difference.
Over 90 philanthropists from very different backgrounds have so far been honoured.