Daniel Petersen – a 14-year-old drummer from South Africa – has received the Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award from the Barack Obama Foundation. The boy has been recognized for his “dedication to community work and nation building”. He does his work through the Daniel Petersen Foundation, which deals with helping unprivileged children gain access to musical instruments. Petersen also works with Nosaconn, a non-profit operation based in New Orleans, US, running an after-school program offering music lessons to the youth.
In his acceptance speech during the ceremony, which was held in New Orleans, Petersen said: “Even though Barack Obama could not make the awards ceremony, it was an honour to be recognised by his foundation. This award is also for South Africa, our new democracy and the youth of 1976 who paid with their lives” (a series of demonstrations and protests led by black school children in South Africa that began on the morning of 16 June 1976, and is now known as the Soweto Uprising, met with fierce police brutality. The number of protesters killed by the police is usually given as 176, but estimates of up to 700 have been made).