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Soweto-born icons chosen to help fight problems facing township’s youth

Sello Maake kaNcube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Dr David Molapo and Sakhumzi at the podium. Picture by Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Sello Maake kaNcube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Dr David Molapo and Sakhumzi at the podium. Picture by Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Published Jun 6, 2022


Johannesburg - Three famous South Africans, all born in Soweto, met at Sakhumzi’s Restaurant in Orlando West at an event to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs, gender-based violence, bullying and teenage pregnancy.

The Sakhumzi Foundation Honour 50 Soweto Icons event was hosted by the executive president of the SA Fashion Designers Agency (SAFDA), Sonwabile Ndamase. It singles out 50 people who have contributed to the political and social discourse in South Africa.

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Those selected are expected to nominate a school that they will visit and give motivational talks.

Some of the attendees at the event. Picture Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Among the first of the 50 Soweto Icons chosen is Kwa-Thema born Dr David Molapo, who – after his return from the United States – resided in Meadowlands, Zone 9, where he founded the ICAN Foundation.

ICAN’s messages have spread throughout the world and today Dr Molapo is a successful businessman, motivational speaker, pastor and philanthropist.

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World-revered musician, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, teacher and humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka was born in Dobsonville, Soweto. MamYvonne, as she is affectionately known, is a champion for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and malaria; the United Nations MDG (Millennium Development Goals) Envoy for Africa; and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

She was chosen by former President Nelson Mandela as the first ambassador for his children's fund and has also established her own charity organisation, the Princess of Africa Foundation, using the name first given to her in Uganda.

The Princess of Africa Foundation is a partner of the Action Global Health advocacy partnership. In 2012, she was the first African woman to receive the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award.

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Some of the attendees at the event. Picture Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Another legend who was chosen is the professional actor, playwright, director, producer and gender-based violence activist, Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, born in Orlando East. He holds a Master’s Degree in script writing and is the Founder of AFriMan Rising Campaign.

Among many of his awards and key roles, he is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Naledi Theatre Awards and sits on the board of the Gauteng Arts and Culture adjudication panel for the awards.

The day began with the icons visiting Orlando West High School to give a motivational talk to the pupils, together with Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

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The founder of Sakhumzi Restaurant, Sakhumzi Maqubela, said giving back to the community in some shape or form is important to him and giving motivation to young people is always a good start.

“We’ve got Yvonne Chaka Chaka, David Molapo, and Sello Maake Ka-Ncube. We found it important that we go to Orlando High where Ka-Ncube was a student. We wanted them to come and motivate our children. This is only the beginning of the campaign as we look to roll it out to the other townships as well.

“The purpose of the 50 Soweto Icons is to profile the personality traits of the selected icons to inspire the youth and remind them of who we are”.

Actor Maake Ka-Ncube said the initiative was important because he saw it as a pat on his back.

“This is an encouragement to not only myself, but to many in the industry to keep doing the work that needs to be done. So to be given this recognition is humbling and it is an honour,” he said.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka said the youth are a vital part of any society and if there's any place to impart knowledge, it must be to the youth first.

The three icons at the event. Picture Bhekikhaya Mabaso

“We do not know the state of mind of our kids – some of them come to school hungry without having eaten anything, some have to walk kilometres to school. Many are facing immense challenges and we need to be cognisant of those challenges, together with the Department of Education. I am honoured to be part of this,” she said.

Dr Molapo said he appreciated people being recognised while they were alive.

“This is a good initiative. Coming together there is a lot that can be done and I look to do more work through the ICAN Foundation and others,” he said.