Far south born and bred Dene Botha, 38, has been recognised as one of the 100 Most Influential Young South Africans for 2019.
The list is compiled by Ghana-based Avance Media and PR, which has published similar rankings to highlight the work of outstanding young people in seven African countries.
Previous winners of the South African rankings include international TV celebrity Trevor Noah and world champion athlete Caster Semenya.
Born in Kalk Bay, Dene spent his first 25 years in the Fish Hoek valley and attended local schools.
Dene bagged a nomination in the social enterprise and philanthropy category of the Avance rankings for his Pride Factor life-skills academy which he founded in 2014.
The aim of the academy is to inspire and guide teenagers and young adults to overcome unemployment, poverty and inequality.
“I’m honoured, elated, proud and so excited to have been recognised in this prestigious group of leaders who do so much to inspire others,” said Dene. “I’m merely the front man for Pride Factor and it all comes down to team-work, collaboration and the relentless pursuit of enhancing the quality of life for the youth of our world.”
Dene is also a model, professional Shakespearian actor and Western Province surfing champion and was crowned South Africa’s “Most Irresistible Man” in Axe Sweet Life’s nationwide reality show in 2009.
He has skydived naked to support rhino conservation, MCed fund-raisers for CANSA, worked in soup-kitchens, collected food and clothing for the homeless and participated in a celebrity boxing tournament to highlight bullying.
The 2019 poll features 54 women and 46 men and pits Dene against the likes of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, Olympic swimming champ Chad le Clos and and Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.
The number one Most Influential Young South African is chosen by means of voting, which closed on Wednesday February 5. The winner will be announced soon.