The Paul Modjadji Story

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pmthestoryPaul Modjadji is a dancer, choreographer, writer, author, social developer and entrepreneur.
Paul grew in a community he describes as having no resources for a rambunctious young person who wanted to dance, act and express his creative talents, the young Modjadji learned to use family gatherings as a platform for him to share his creative talents and the television as his training studio to hone his skills. Paul gives credit to hit television movies Fame and Sarafina for giving him a sense of exactly where he wanted his life to go. Modjadji remembers years of being the only person in his class who did not want to be a doctor, teacher or policeman. Modjadji’s future in the arts was sealed when he scored a scholarship to attend the Dansevaerkstedet Dance Foundation in Denmark, straight after his matric year. His passion for dance and storytelling through the arts later caught the attention of the Washington DC based Global Young Leaders Congress, who awarded him with the Global Young Leaders Award in 2002.After a year in Denmark Modjadji returned home to study with the Tshwane University of Technology Dance Department. In his second year of studying Modjadji auditioned and landed a role on the popular South African Youth Soap “Backstage”. Being a cast member of the popular soapie was the first of many dreams realized for the young South African talent with global aspirations.

By 2005 Modjadji who started writing during his high school years, graduated with his qualification in Journalism and Media studies, with Intec College. In the same year Modjadji was selected to be part of the South African team that Represented South Africa at the World Dance Championships in Germany. The following year Modjadji would begin juggling his passion for dancing with writing.  He secured his first television-script writing job with one of the Public Broadcaster DIY shows “Iketsetse”. In 2008 Modjadji was commissioned by the Department of Arts and Culture to oversee the choreography of South Africa’s presentation at the IBSA summit in India. Giving him an opportunity to work with Brazilian and Indian dancers.

In 2010 Modjadji who had registered his then 3-year-old media and entertainment company, Imvula Pula Entertainment, graduated with a project management qualification from the Faisit Business College. It was however not until 2011 that Modjadji would make world history by becoming the first African to win the European World Dance Championships in the Solo Jazz category.

On his return home, the dancer who only received formal training in his latter years, immediately established his community development project under the Leaders Who Dare to Dream banner. A project that gives performance arts workshops and training to communities such as his hometown, Hammanskraal.

In 2012 Modjadji became the first South African young artist to win the South African Youth Award, for the Arts and Entertainment category. In 2013, Paul returned to television, working as scriptwriter and researcher for popular travel magazine show, “Vaya Mzansi”, giving the World traveller an opportunity to discover and promote South Africa to South Africans. In the same year The City of Tshwane appoints him their offiicla brand ambassador. Following which Modjadji headed to New York to Represent South Africa at the 40th annual Talent America Showcase in New York, where he was Crowned Adult Top dancer and awarded the Waves of Movement special award, an award given to an overall outstanding dancer.

Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Having conquored the globe yet again,  Paul  returned home to be awarded the 2013/2014 Golden Shield National Heritage Award, by the National Heritage Council of South Africa, under the Youth National Heritage Advocate category. Professionally Modjadji’s star also continued to shine continentally as he lands a 10 minute segment on Africa’s biggest breakfast show – The Good Morning Africa Show, on Africa Magic Channel (Channel 154 on DSTV) which is broadcast to 250 million viewers across 49 countries in Africa. Modjadji backed all of  these accomplishments by doing what he loves best, giving back.  He embarked on a national tour with the Daring to Dream movement. Partnering with one of South Africa’s top NGO’s Khulisa, reaching more than a 1000 young people across seven provinces in South Africa, daring them to have a dream and dare to follow it through.  Following the succes of the tour, Kick-Start Magazine honored Modjadji with the privilige of being their first dancer to make the cover of the Business Magazine, in their October issue, 2013. Modjadji rounds off a very successful year by being commissioned to choreograph South Africa’s first made-for-cinema dance movie, ‘Hear me Move.

2014 proved to be a very eventful year for Modjadji as he launched “Keeping my Core Intact: the story of Adelaide Matlejoane”, a book he has been authoring for more than 7 years, and begins drafting his second book and first Self help book “ 101 ways to be taken seriously in the professional world, a handbook for the youth of Mzansi”. Mail &  Guardian lists Modjadji as one of the 2014 200 Young South Africans you need to know in their annual 200 SA list, a further nod comes from Destiny Man Magazine who select Modjadji as one of the 40 Influencial men under the age 40 in the Magazine’s Power of 40 awards.

Paul’s other accomplishments for year 2014 inlcude being appointed the Africa/South Africa Ambassador for the prestigious European Star Dance Union (ESDU) at a ceremony in Brazil, being appointed Choreographer for the Namibian Annual Music Awards, 2014, creative directing/Choreographing the 2014 Gauteng Sports Awards and overseeing the Closing ceremony of the 2014 Year of South Africa in China, which was attended by the President of the Republic of South Africa and Dejiang Zhang, chairman of the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

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