Inyathelo in the Headlines

Gauteng hero - 23 Aug 2013 - North Eastern Tribune

HE is just 12 years old but Grade 7 pupil at St John's Preparatory College in Houghton has already touched so many hearts in the country. Jordan van der Walt is on the verge of making it as the national hero for the Lead SA campaign after being named a Gauteng winner.

The campaign encourages people to make a difference in the lives of their communities. He said, "I am extremely honoured to be one of the finalists and I would like to thank everyone who voted but this campaign is not all about me, it is for the people.

His mother Lynn van der Walt alluded Jordan's success to his zest to make a difference in other people's lives. She said, "We are obviously proud of him he just got the zest for life; the heart of gold; he just loves the people no matter where they come from."

On August 21 Van der Walt, together with other winners from KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, will attend the Lead SA 3rd Anniversary celebrations in Cape Town on 21 August, where one of them will be crowned National Hero of the Year.The winner will receive R150 000 for a charity of their choice, courtesy of the Dis-Chem Foundation.

The two runners-up will each receive R50 000 for their chosen initiatives. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will deliverthe keynote address at the Lead SA celebrations. He hatched the idea to start "Just One Bag" campaign after he saw a documentary about South African children who go to school hungry each day. He asked his schoolmates to bring one bag of maize meal to school. When the calls for the annual Easter egg collection were made at the school, Jordan suggested to his principal, Patrick Lees, that instead of Easter eggs, each boy could bring a bag of mealie meal.

"I just thought that kids might prefer something more nutritious so that when they went home, they wouldn't get hungry," he said. The "Just One Bag" campaign has been very successful and has collected over 100 tonnes of maize meal, feeding over one million children.

Over 50 schools have taken part in the campaign and more than 50 000 children have brought a bag of maize meal to school. In December 2012 he was invited to address the medical graduates at the Free State University by vice-rector Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Jordan said, "No matter how big or small you're you can make a difference. Hopefully one day there won't be a child in South Africa going hungry." He added, "A lot of kids in SA would like to make a difference but they don't know who to talk to. "He would like to donate his prize to TLC, the charity organisation of her choice in Bronkhospruit.

He received the Inyathelo awards for children in philanthropy given by the South African Institute for Advancement, a non-profit trust promoting philanthropy in 2012. Details: www.leadsa.co.za