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WATCH | Reviving my father’s legacy of light in the Cape Flats

Luke Koeries had a great legacy to live up to. His father was a policeman and community leader in the crime-ridden area of Ocean View in the Cape Flats.

Growing up, the young boy couldn’t wait to follow in his father’s footsteps. But when his dad passed on, nine-year-old Koeries was plunged into an emotional whirlwind.

Instead of succumbing to despair, he realised he could celebrate his father’s life. “I told myself I need to stand up and make a positive difference,” Koeries says.

At the age of 17, while still in high school, he launched Kids Are Kids. With the NPO, Koeries creates a safe environment for children in his hometown.

Here, the fear of gang violence keeps them indoors. Koeries disrupts this atmosphere by arranging outdoor games, community events, and food drives.

His projects are a light in the world these kids are exposed to – and they’re encouraged by the teen’s energy.

“It’s important they have role models they can look up to,” Koeries says. More than a leader, Koeries is the big brother who shows them a different way of life.

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“You can see a change in the kids,” he says. “They just want to be involved.”

With his dad’s example before him, Koeries is motivated to continue making a difference.

“I want to inspire others the way my father inspired me,” he says.

Today, the 19-year-old is renowned in the community for his initiative. By spurring on the dreams of others, he’s realised his own.

“Becoming a good role model to those who don’t have one changed my life,” Koeries says. He’s proof that being a pillar of positivity can uplift generations.