Real Heroes, Real Life

Not all heroes have super powers. Some of them just have super big hearts – like Franck Leya, Cadi de Jaager, Jonathan Malibohoand Emile Jansen, who were all selected as 2016 Lead SA Heroes. Let us tell you why.

Franckis a confident young man with a positive outlook, who founded A Dollar and A Dreamwith his friends (www.facebook.com/younggenerationsdream), an outreach programme for youth living in safe houses in Joburg’s inner city. He recognizes that because these children have had plenty of negative life experiences, they need positive influences to give them hope. By meeting with, speaking to and encouraging these young people, Franck and his team hope to inspire them to pursue their dreams and create successful lives for themselves.

Nine-year-old Cadiwas only eight when she took it upon herself to raiseR20 000for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, to say thank you after they operated on her to remove a non-cancerous growth from her pituitary gland. This remarkable young girl explains,

“I just wanted to give back to the hospital, for all the nice nurses and doctors who would check up on me at 5 o’clock in the morning.”

Both activist and artist, Emileis a founding member of one of South Africa’s pioneering Hip Hop groups, Black Noise. Since 1998 he has also been sharing his creative talents and passion with young people living in the Cape Flats, through his project Heal the Hood (www.healthehood.org.za). His mission is to inspire the youth to explore and develop their creative talents, and in doing so grow their sense of self-worth, and even establish creative careers. Today, he has touched the lives of over 80 000 youth.

Chess transformed Jonathanfrom a troubled kid to the patient teacher he is today. He is dedicated to sharing his chess skills with underprivileged children in Alexandra, so they too can reap the social and academic benefits it offers. He works with over 200 children, more than 20 local schools, and a community centre, through his chess club “Hlalefang”, which means “wise up” (www.gogetfunding.com/hlalefangalexandrachessclub). Jonathanhas also been selected to be the GM of Donate a Piece, a non-profit company that uses chess for developmental purposes at schools and in public areas across SA (www.donateapiece.org).

Fortunately, Lead SAis ensuring that the efforts of these individuals do not go unnoticed. Lead SAencourages everyday South Africans to be the change they want to see. They introduced the Lead SA Hero Awardsto acknowledge and celebrate those who are doing just this, and positively effecting change in their communities.

The four extraordinary individuals named above were honoured with the following titles:

Franck Leya– Gauteng regional Lead SA Youth Hero & National Lead SA Youth Hero
Cadi de Jaager– Western Cape regional Lead SA Youth Hero
Emile Jansen– Western Cape regional Lead SA Hero & National Lead SA Hero
Jonathan Maliboho– Gauteng regional Lead SA Hero


The Dis‑Chem Foundationis proud to be a part of this initiative, and has contributed R250 000towards the campaign. Most of this prize money – R10 000to each of the regional Heroes and Youth Heroes, and a further R90 000 to the national Hero and Youth Hero– is earmarked for the Heroes to contribute to a charity of their choice, enabling them to do even more good.

For example, Franck Leya and his team donated all of their proceeds from the Dis‑Chem Foundation – which amounted to R100 000– to Dlala Nje Community Centrefor teens living in Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea (www.dlalanje.org).

Emile Jansen also received R100 000 from the Dis‑Chem Foundation, which he is using to continue the work he has been doing with his Heal the Hood project, while Jonathan Malibohois using his R10 000to equip his club with branding so that they can be recognised at tournaments and at school championships, and Cadi de Jagerhas chosen to donate her funds to the Red Cross Children’s Hospitalto help buy equipment that the hospital needs.

It’s truly inspiring to think how a handful of individuals can have a positive impact in the lives of so many others.

Nominate Your Hero

Do you know a real life hero? You can nominate them for the title of Lead SA Hero or Lead SA Youth Hero at www.leadsa.co.za. Regional Heroes are selected monthly in the different provinces, and from these finalists the overall regional and national Heroes for the year are chosen.

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