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WATCH | This hip-hop artist is leading ex-gangsters toward the summit of healing

Reaching the summit of our personal struggles can give us strength to heal and uplift others.

Hailing from Philippi, one of Cape Town’s violent and impoverished areas, hip-hop artist Sakhiwo Ndawose is using hiking and music to rehabilitate youth.

“Hiking for me works as a therapy because when I am around anything that’s natural, I feel connected to it,” he says.

Turning to the outdoors and music to remedy his own life, today Ndawose is a trailblazer for his community. “We all have the power to change but it will take one step at a time,” he says.

Recognising worsening gangsterism and crime in his area, Ndawose founded Blazing Pens Cypher Hikes. “I wanted to give a safe place for the kids in my community to empower themselves,” he says.

Ndawose organises hiking and climbing adventures for youth, ex-convicts, and former gang members in Cape Town’s national parks. Through these expeditions they build mental and physical fortitude to deal with their challenges.

“We hope that these extreme sports activities will help our youth to overcome their extreme adversities,” he says.

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While Ndawose's lyricism encourages his listeners to address issues like domestic abuse, his hikes persuade youth to forge a path of transformation.

“Healing is the first step to change your life,” he says. Ndawose’s hiking activities serve his community by taking people off the streets and supporting former criminals to turn over a new leaf.

With each stride towards the mountaintop, Ndawose and his community are ascending to a future free of crime and poverty.

“Even though I’m still dreaming more, I am living my dream,” he says.