Not an eye was dry at the University of Johannesburg’s Sanlam Auditorium when Jenna Lowe was announced as the National Lead SA Youth Hero of the Year yesterday during the ChangeMakers conference.
Lowe recieved the award posthumously, 9 weeks after she passed on. Her parents were present to recieve the award in her stead.
Having been diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension at the age of 17 - a degenerative, life-threatening condition - Lowe and her family fought to the bitter end, both for her life and to make South Africans aware of organ donation.
Lowe left a legacy, she encouraged South Africans to register as Organ Donors through her novel birthday invitation known as getmeto21.com. Organ donor registrations increased exponentially in the months after she launched the campaign.
Founder of Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs), Marlon Parker was announced as the National Lead SA Hero of the Year 2014/2015.
RLabs is "in the business of hope", a community driven innovation and reconstruction. The model includes establishing Youth Cafes in communities. To use these Youth Cafes, young people need to do good in their communities. For every act of social good, they are awarded with a virtual currency, known as Zlatos, which can be used to purchase refreshments, attend empowerment courses, or even go to the local hairdresser.
The RLabs model has proven to be such a driver for change that it has already been adopted in 21 other countries.
Speaking to Africa Melane on Weekend Breakfast after recieving the award, Parker said "there are so many amazing people doing incredible work across the country, so just being acknowledged by Lead SA and it's partners was such a wonderful honour".
Listen to Africa's conversation with both Marlon Parker and Jenna Lowe's Mom below:
Both Jenna and Marlon will receive a cash donation of R100 000 to donate to a charity of their choice.