Local Heroes: A beautiful initiative!

Inspirational stories about remarkable South Africans!

Beautiful News is a website that celebrates the best of our nation in stunning images and videos that are sure to inspire you. The stories are positive, authentic and true!

Annelissa Mhloli – riding the wave of body positivity

For years, she’d wanted to work with children. When Waves for Change offered her the chance to work for them, Mhloli couldn’t say no. A Laureus Sport for Good Project, the initiative uses surfing as therapy for kids from impoverished and dangerous backgrounds. Mhloli started learning to surf, swimming further out in the ocean and getting her balance on a board. She knows that if she at least tries, the kids she mentors will feel inspired to do the same. “I fall all the time when I’m on the board, but that’s part of the fun,” Mhloli says. “Getting up is the most important thing.”

The ocean accepts me as I am. 

Watch her take on stereotypes of plus-size women and promote body positivity here.

Curtley Cerfontein – the 16-year-old with the keys to change a community

“When I am playing and composing I am living my dream,” Cerfontein says. He was introduced to music through his church, where he played drums as a child. At the age of 12, he became one of the first students to join the Jazz Yard Academy. The NPO offers free music lessons to children in Bonteheuwel, providing them with new opportunities and a healthy outlet for their time.

Last year, he performed with the academy at the World Children’s Prize ceremony in Sweden. “Not a lot of youngsters get the opportunity to even go overseas or fly,” he says. “I have so much to be grateful for.” While Cerfontein experiences the thrill of being a recognised musician, he has no intentions for a life of stardom. In the future, he wants to give others the same opportunities he has been afforded.

People are able to succeed when they are handed the keys to change.

Music is this 16-year-old’s future. It’s also what keeps him safe in Bonteheuwel, watch a short video of his story here.

Phumezo Tsibanto – redesigning shacks from the ground up

According to Statistics South Africa, more than 10% of South Africa’s population live in overcrowded informal housing. A remnant of apartheid policy, these shacks are a risk to inhabitants. Residents depend on communal ablutions that are hazardous to health and safety. Homes burn down easily, and the cramped structure of the settlements prevent access for emergency services. But with the NPO Ikhayalami, Tsibanto is changing that. In partnership with Urban Think Tank and the BT community, Ikhayalami and Tsibanto are building multiple-storey houses that take up significantly less land. Called Empower Shack, these new structures are made from a combination of brick, wood and zinc sheets. They are fireproof, water-resistant, and secure. More than providing a roof over people’s heads, the functional houses are enabling a better quality of life.

Every person deserves a solid home where they can lead fulfilling lives. With creative solutions, we can build spaces of pride and dignity for all.

There's no place like home. Watch how Phumezo Tsibanto redesigns homes for the people of Khayelitsha here.

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