Celebrated for incredible roles in society
By Siyavuya Mzantsi
He was the child-of-the-moment. But when 13-year-old Tyrone Aaron rose to speak after being named the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Inyathelo Award for Children in Philanthropy, his thoughts were with another child.
“I may not know what it feels like to live in a mansion,” he said, “but I know what it feels like to place a doll in a little girl’s arms, to see her hug it tightly and to see the thrilled look on her face when she heard it cry like a real baby.”
A pianist and community activist, Tyrone, from Johannesburg, raised more than R45000 for the Sabi Sands Conservation Trust and Rhino SA after reading about the ongoing slaughter of rhinos by poachers in Mpumalanga. He also provided clothing and shoes to children affected by xenophobic attacks and the Marikana mining strikes.
“I may not know what it feels like to leave the borders of South Africa, but I know what it feels like to see the joy on a child’s face when I handed him a new pair of school shoes, his very own, to keep,” said Tyrone.
Just before his 10th birthday, Tyrone became aware of the possible closure of an organisation that cared for people with intellectual disabilities. Touched by their plight, he asked his mother to organise a concert to raise funds for the home and raised R25000. Yesterday’s gala event, initiated by Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, acknowledged, celebrated and honoured the contribution of a range of people towards sustainable social change in South Africa.
Four other people were honoured for their role in society.
Choreographer, dance sensation and director of Dare to Dream, Paul Modjadji, was the recipient of the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. Howick dairy person and founder of the Future Farmers Foundation, Judy Stuart, was awarded the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Economics, while Human Rights Lawyer and Founder of The X Foundation, Nonkululeko Xulu, received the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Education.
Life coach and founder of Project Ignition, Shamillah Wilson, was awarded the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Women in Philanthropy.
More than 90 philanthropists from different backgrounds, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, 10-year-old rhino campaigner Afeefah Patel, Hope Warriors Children’s Charity founder Patrick Mashandaand former Rhodes University vice chancellor Dr Saleem Badatare past recipients of Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards.
Inyathelo executive director Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge said all recipients demonstrated initiative and leadership and used their personal funds in a strategic way to make a difference.
“Philanthropy is dependent on the interest, passion, commitment, generosity and foresight of individuals like those we have honoured today. Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models that live and work among us,” she said.
“We believe philanthropists play a critical role in effecting real systemic change as they are able to support more innovative and often unconventional solutions to our numerous social, environmental and economic challenges in South Africa.” Madlala-Routledge said growing philanthropy in support of civil society and higher education institutions would help strengthen democracy and realise its fruits for those who were excluded and marginalised.
“I believe anyone can be a philanthropist. South Africa is a nation of givers. The spirit of ubuntu is ingrained in us all.
“It really doesn’t matter how much you give, it’s what you are able to achieve with what you share that really counts.”