Emile YX? of Heal the Hood Project, in Lavender Hill, received the Western Cape Lead SA Hero award, at the regional Western Cape heroes ceremony on Saturday August 6.
Emile and Cadi de Jager, of Paarl, walked away with the honours as the Lead SA Western Cape Regional Heroes were announced for 2016.
Over the last year, Lead SA has asked the public to nominate ordinary South Africans doing uplifting work in their communities.
Each month, two heroes are profiled on LeadSA.co.za as well as CapeTalk and KFM – one of them being a youth hero under the age of 21, the other, over 21 years. These individuals often seek no praise but their contribution to making the world a better place deserves recognition.
Emile YX? was selected as Lead SA Hero of the month for harnessing his creativity to empower and inspire young people.
The Heal the Hood Project was created in 1998 by Emile YX? and officially obtained its NPO status in 2008.
Emile YX? belonged to Black Noise, one of South Africa’s pioneering rap groups.
Heal the Hood Project came about to help various communities interact with each other. Emile decided to include all the community outreach projects he was initiating in Black Noise as part of Heal the Hood Project and thus ex- panding the concept of contributing back into the community. The Each one Teach one methodology coupled with Do For Self Concerts and principles helped lay the foundation for this.
Their mission statement is to create a sustainable network of youth artists nationally and internationally through which jobs and new skills are created, arts products and arts-related information can be distributed, and their vision is to provide holistic youth activities, information that addresses community issues and creates a sense of self worth to help them become active participants in a democratic soc- iety.
Emile YX? expressed his gratitude for being given the award. “I am very grateful for the acknowledgement. Creating Heal the Hood Project has ensured that the work I initiated will continue to spread at schools and in various communities in the future.
“My biggest joy is that young people see what we do and now many are making real international travel to hip hop events globally. This acknowledgement will also show them that society at large will appreciate their contributions to helping others. I am a strong be-liever in leading by example and a teacher, break-dancer, artist and activist. Getting an award like this will show others that they too can do so.”
Cadi de Jager received the Western Cape Lead SA Youth Hero award.
She was selected as the May Lead SA Youth Hero for taking the initiative to raise money for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital to say thank you for the treatment she received when she was diagnosed with Rathke’s Cleft cyst a couple of years ago.