How to Spread It: Danny K

2013-06-02 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Danny Koppel – aka Danny K – is a singer, songwriter and record producer. He works with several children’s charities, is a friend of the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and an ambassador for the Nelson Mandela 46664 Aids Campaign.

After the murder of reggae star Lucky Dube in 2010, Danny K and kwaito musician Kabelo Mabalane launched the Shout Foundation, a national anticrime initiative, which uses music and mobile media to raise money.

Danny K (33) lives in Johannesburg.

Q: Like many celebrity philanthropists you leverage your fame to raise money and spread your chosen message. Do you see this as a duty or a pleasure?

A: I think I see it as both. I quickly realised that fame came with responsibility and power. I knew that people listened to what I had to say and that the platform I had been given could be used to be good, bad or indifferent. Social work was always present in my family growing up.

We were taught to give back and “pay it forward”. It still gives me great pleasure to help others and improve the lives of the less fortunate in South Africa.

Q: If giving is more than just writing a cheque, what kind of philanthropist would you describe yourself as?

A: I think it’s about inspiring others. Sometimes it takes more than just money to make a difference, and activating social responsibility can be a powerful mechanism in social change. When I started Shout, I knew that we could never raise enough money to eradicate crime, but what we could do is show the nation that there are people out there who care, who want change, and who empathise with their fears and concerns.

Q: How did you first get involved with philanthropy?

A: As a young boy, I watched my parents get involved in our community. It was a great motivator to me. They admired and respected leaders and personalities who were selfless and helped others. It must have filtered into me. My first public philanthropy came through Madiba’s 46664 campaign. Working with and through Madiba accelerated my desire to get more involved in philanthropic work.

Q: You are very involved with children’s charities. Was there anyone or anything in your childhood that inspired your interest in the needs of children?

A: Children are always the most vulnerable and I learnt this at a very early age. My school had a “sister” school in Orange Farm. We used to visit and assist the school and I saw first hand how less fortunate scholars lived and studied. It must have made an impact on me because I still recall it vividly.

Q: What’s been one of your most memorable giving moments?

A: Shout has made big multimillion-rand donations in the fight against crime, but those are not the most memorable for me. Towards the end of last year, Kabelo and I surprised a school by walking into their assembly.

The school had issues with crime and bullying and needed some advice and encouragement. The reception we got was unbelievable, and the appreciation on the faces of those kids was hugely rewarding.

A stand-out moment.

Q: Did living in Johannesburg, a crime capital, play a part in your decision to start the Shout Foundation?

A: Definitely. My house has been broken into, my parents have been hijacked along with numerous friends – its hard not to realise that crime is out of control.

Q: Your song Shout, recorded to launch the Foundation, won a 2011 SA Music Award for the top-selling track download of the year. You donated the proceeds to charity. Can you give us more details about how that worked? How many times was it downloaded, how much money was raised and who did you give it to?

A: We sold more than 60?000 full-track downloads – the greatest-ever amount in digital music sales. We have also fundraised through golf days and corporate donations. Since launch, Shout has donated in excess of R2.5 million.

The money generated has gone to a variety of crime-focused NGOs including Khulisa, The Teddy Bear Clinic, The Police Widows and Orphans Fund and drug rehabilitation centres in the Cape Flats. We have also armed the SA Police Service with Garmin Navigation units to assist them in getting to crime scenes quicker.

Q: How does using new technologies and social networks help to promote your philanthropy work?

A: We are proud of our Shout smartphone app, which is available free on Android- and Windows-based phones. It’s a GPS-powered app that locates the nearest police, medical and fire station to you at any given time – and provides you with their numbers and can even navigate you to them. The app also allows users to input criminal activity and hotspots in their areas. We see it as a great tool in the fight against crime.

Q: I read that Archbishop Desmond Tutu played a “cameo” part in the recording of Shout. What did he do?

A: Yes, he very kindly agreed to feature in the video for a brief moment. We were really excited about that.

Q: You are active on Twitter and Facebook. Can you give us an example of how the rise of social media has influenced the way you give?

A: We listen to our Facebook and Twitter members’ advice on worthy causes. We then investigate and apply the necessary checks and balances. Anyone who receives our money must have a proven track record.

Q: You are a friend of Unicef. What does that mean?

A: I am lucky enough to be called on by this great institution when they need me. They do amazing work, and I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.

» This series was developed in partnership with the Southern Africa Trust.

» Links to Danny K’s key philanthropy projects: (Nashua Children’s Charity)

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.