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UNICEF appoints South African artist Zola as Regional Goodwill Ambassador

ADDIS ABABA, 17 Nov 2006 - UNICEF today announced the appointment of prominent South African singer and actor Zola as a Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Speaking at a side session during the Fifth African Development Forum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah said the appointment was in recognition of Zola’s dynamic efforts and personal commitment in highlighting the difficult challenges facing the youth in Africa today.

“Zola has used his creative talents to draw the public’s attention to the terrible impact of HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, and poverty on young people on this continent,” said Ms. Salah. “His efforts continue to inspire many people, especially the youth. His personal story in overcoming poverty in Soweto to become one of Africa’s budding young superstars gives hope to millions of youth In Africa who are in a similar situation.”

Zola, 29, has sold over 600,000 copies of his four albums to date. His debut album, Umdlwembe (rogue or stray dog), sold over 180,000 copies and attained triple platinum status within a year of its release in 2001. His lyrics reflect the world in which he grew up – one of hunger, abuse, and gun violence. His signature role came in the Oscar-winning movie Tsotsi, where he starred as the smooth-talking leader of a carjacking syndicate. Zola also hosts his own television show, Zola 7, which, with a weekly audience of 5 million viewers, is the most watched actuality TV show in South Africa.

“Being named an ambassador is like a calling. You can’t refer to this as a job. UNICEF’s work in Africa has influenced me,” said Zola. “It is my responsibility to speak out loud and to make noise on behalf of children. I grew up in a ghetto and I understand what it means to struggle.  Now, as long as I live, I am going to fight social injustice wherever it happens.”

In becoming a UNICEF ambassador, Zola joins a list of well-known and highly regarded personalities from sports, music, and performing arts who are supporting UNICEF’s work at national, regional and global levels. These ambassadors are chosen not only because of their name recognition but more particularly because of the respect in which they are held worldwide and their appeal as genuine humanitarians.

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About UNICEF
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
Attention broadcasters:  video available at www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef


For more information:

Victor Chinyama, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi: Tel + 254 722 701 505; vchinyama@unicef.org

Indrias Getachew, UNICEF Ethiopia:Tel + 251 911 254 018; igetachew@unicef.org

Delphine Klassen, Ghetto Ruff/Guluva, Johannesburg:Tel + 27 83 676 0757; delphine@b2f.co.za


 

 

 

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