Lead SA crowns South African heroes

Lead SA held it 2016 Changemakers Conference at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.

Public Protector Thulis Madonsela at the Lead SA 2016 Changemakers Conference at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. Picture: @KFMza

JOHANNESBURG - With the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela saying she is honoured to have received the Lead SA Leadership Award, other changemakers have also been recognised and awarded for their efforts in changing lives.

Yesterday, Lead SA held it 2016 Changemakers Conference at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town and honoured Madonsela along with three other heroes.

Lead SA Youth Hero of the Year award was received by Franck Leya.

Leya came to South Africa when he was a child with his mother and sister to escape the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During the xenophobic attacks in 2008, he started an initiative at his school in Hillbrow, which encouraged understanding and acceptance among foreign learners and South Africans.

This and many other life struggles Leya faced, motivated him to start A Dollar and a Dream youth activation group to encourage a strong belief of self-worth among youth.

The group goes all out to contact schools in rural or underdeveloped areas, and form bonds with children of all ages - by sharing stories, playing games and re-imagining their future with them.

And our lead SA youth hero of the year is Franck Leya #Changemakers2016 pic.twitter.com/0i8xretdTQ

Another Lead SA Hero of the Year Award went to Emile Jansen.

Jansen helped shape the culture of Hip Hop in South Africa, and in the '80s, as part of the group Black Noise, he served as a pioneer in Cape Town's Conscious Hip-Hop movement.

He later went on to establish Heal the Hood, a non-profit organisation, which includes the community outreach projects he initiated through Black Noise.

Heal the Hood also expands on the concept of giving back through shared knowledge, creating a sustainable network for artists, providing holistic youth activities, addressing community issues and creating a sense of self-worth.

He has also dedicated his life to changing the lives of young people in the Cape Flats since 1998 through this NGO.

Jessica Dewhurst is the director and co-founder of Edmund Rice and she received the Lead SA Hero Award.

Their purpose is to advocate, educate and equip in the area of human rights, justice and advocacy with operations in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Thank you @lead_sa for honouring our Director @JessDewhurstSA with a Hero award! pic.twitter.com/2a84VdprXO

The outgoing Public Protector who received the Lead SA Leadership Award for 2016 has been a force to be reckoned with in the world of politics and is leaving big shoes for her successor to fill.

She is known for taking jabs, legally of course, at South Africa's top politicians and her work around President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla debacle is one of many that makes SA citizens feel protected by her office.

She has served as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, human rights and constitutional lawyer, she is also a seasoned administrative investigator, equality expert and policy specialist with over two and a half decades of post legal qualification experience.