By Tshepo Marutha.
Internationally-acclaimed choreographer, dance sensation and director of Dare to Dream Foundation, Mr. Paul Modjadji, has been conferred with the prestigious 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts by the South African Institute for Advancement.
The Hammanskraal born Modjadji was recognised for his dedication and commitment to the development of young talent in townships across the country. Through his foundation, Modjadji has empowered over 10 000 youngsters from disadvantaged communities helping them to follow their dreams by offering free art, drama and leadership programmes.
In a statement by Inyathelo Executive Director Mrs. Nozizwe MadlalaRoutledge, the recipients of the award demonstrated initiative and leadership, and have 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 honoured today. Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models that live and work amongst us. 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," it read.
The City of Tshwane official ambassador was honoured earlier in the year by president of the United States of America Mr. Barak Obama who presented him with the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders Award at a ceremony in Washington DC. During an interview with Sosh Times just before he jetted out of the country for his fellowship Modjadji said growing up in a community with no resources to horn his skills did not deter him from reaching his goals.
"I grew up in a community without resources for a rambunctious young person who wanted to dance, act or to express his creative talent. I used family gatherings as platforms to share my creative talents. At school, I was the only one who did not want to be a doctor, teacher or a politician. I scored a scholarship to attend Dansevaerkstedet Dance Foundation in Denmark, straight after matric," said Modjadji.
He has since then been crowned top dancer globally by the New York based Talent America Showcase. He made history by being crowned the first African dancer to win the European Star Dance Union World Championships. Paul's next project is to raise funds to build dance academies in the townships.