“HALALA KYP” Ten Years From Poverty To Opportunity

By Maryem Sáder – Emzingo.

*All images courtesy of KYP.

As Commencement Season 2017 hit colleges in the US, a powerful image involving graduation attire took place on the other side of the planet: a group of college graduates proudly walked down the slums of Kliptown wearing gowns and singing “HALALA KYP”, as they were celebrated by all members of the community, especially the younger ones. But those are not just some “regular” graduates — and their achievement shouldn’t go unnoticed: all of them grew up in what is considered one of South Africa’s most impoverished districts, where growth and personal development opportunities are scarce, to say the least, and most kids don’t even finish high school.

“Halala KYP” means “we thank you, KYP”, which stands for Kliptown Youth Program: an organization whose ultimate goal is “to help rise Kliptown’s youth out of economic poverty”. KYP provides meals, after-school activities, academic support and tutoring to 400 local kids and young people.

This particular celebration in the streets of Kliptown was part of the 10th anniversary of the organization, and among those graduates was Thulani Madondo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of KYP, who was born in 1990 and grew up in a metal shack without basic services such as running water or electricity. While his seven siblings had to drop out of school due to economic constraints, he became the first member of his family to graduate from high school by working as a stock boy and washing cars in order to get money. This determination served him not only to finish high school, but to change his community for the better.

“There are more than 10,000 children in the community, so working with 400 might seem like nothing,” he states. “But if (they) are dedicated … we can make a difference”, Thulani told CNN back in 2012, when he was selected as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes from a pool of 45,000 nominations coming from 100 countries.

Emzingo has had the honor of working closely with KYP since 2011, and we are thrilled to present this Leadershift Award to founder and Executive Director, Thulani Madondo and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this inspiring organization.


About Thulani Madondo

Thulani Madondo is the co-founder and current Executive Director of the Kliptown Youth Program. Thulani himself was born in a one room shack in Kliptown without electricity or running water, so he understands the challenges facing the youth of Kliptown. He participated in several community development organizations for seven years prior to founding KYP in 2007. In 2012, Thulani was honoured as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes from a pool of 45,000 nominations coming from 100 countries. His accomplishments also earned him a Humanitarian of the Year Award from Turkey Worldwide Visibility and Feather Awards Role Model of the Year in 2013. In April, 2013, he was named one of the 100 World Class South Africans by City Press, a South Africa publication, and in June, 2013, Thulani was named one of the 200 young South Africans making a difference by the South Africa publication Mail & Guardian. He completed the Strategic Perspective in Non-profit Management program at the Harvard Business School in July 2013.

Learn more about Thulani  here.


About KYP

Founded in early 2007 by a small group of inspired and passionate young people from Kliptown, dedicated to making a difference in their community, the Kliptown Youth Program provides educational support and afterschool activities for the disadvantaged children of this township, including tutoring, athletic, and arts programs.
Follow their work and get involved!

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