Meet Entrepreneur, writer, international award-winning dancer, choreographer and Mzansi Top 100 leader of 2017, Paul Modjadji:
Modjadji (33) grew up in a community where striving towards actualizing your artistic calling was unheard of. Conventional career fields, such as medicine, law and business was met with support.
Sarafina! (1992 South African film) inspired young Modjaji to move towards his dreams; Modjaji used family gatherings as a platform to showcase his talents which were influenced by his favourite TV shows.
Modjaji’s future in the arts was sealed when he received a scholarship to attend the Dansevaerkstedet Dance Foundation in Denmark, straight after his matric year. After spending a year studying in Denmark, Modjadji returned home to further his studies at the Tshwane University of Technology Dance Department.
During his second year of studies, Modjadji auditioned to be a part of the popular South African youth soap, ‘Backstage’ that featured on ETV. Furthermore, Modjadji also holds a Journalism and Media studies qualification at Intec College.
The young leader’s work caught the attention of the Washington DC-based Young leaders Congress where he received a Global Young Leaders Award. The initiative has been operating for 20 years and sees scores of Africans and South Africans living in the diaspora converge to celebrate South Africa’s freedom and democracy.
Amidst his countless accomplishments, Modjadji secured a television script writing gig on the SABC 2 ‘Iketsetse’ TV show which means ‘Do It Yourself’.
Modjaji has since been working incredibly hard and has amassed plenty of awards and recognition, both locally and internationally.
Did you know?
In 2011 Modjadji made history by becoming the first South African to win the European World Dance Championships.
The award-winning dancer who only received formal training in his later years established a community development project under the ‘Leaders Who Dare to Dream’ banner.
The project provides performance arts workshops and training to communities so that aspiring artists can be supported.
At the heart of this initiative, Modjadji created a platform called ‘Breaking Down Borders’ that enables the youth of Africa to collaborate and network without any physical, mental or historical borders. The initiative was inspired by Modjadji’s experience during the Washington DC-based Young leaders Congress.
“It was during the Washington DC event that I attended, where 500 young leaders around the continent met under one roof. I was motivated by the wisdom that I received during the event. My work has exposed me to Europe but not so much to Africa, my home. Even when it comes to content from different channels, you hardly find African stories told by Africans,” says Modjaji.
“My team and I want this platform to help young people connect, collaborate and access each other. Africa is a developing country, so it is up to us as young people to write our history and bring transformation. Imagine how much innovations we would have in Africa if a scientist in Kenya, for example, could access a scientist in Namibia?” adds Modjaji.