Ethan Khumalo is one of the new Charity Ambassadors of Anna Kennedy Online and has been warmly welcomed by the AKO family. Everyone at the charity has been delighted to have seen in the last couple of years how his confidence has grown and the passion and talent he brings to whatever he takes part in his amazing.
‘Hello everyone, my name is Ethan Khumalo. I am 17 and I am an autistic dancer and lyricist that performs grime and rap music.
‘My aim is to inspire other people that are autistic and also have mental health issues. I want to inspire the talent within them and they can use it; and to find confidence in themselves to showcase it. I have been dancing for 11 years now. I started when I was 6. I then started rapping at that age as well, which then led me to write lyrics properly for two or three years now.
‘Anna Kennedy and l, first crossed paths in 2016. I performed for the first time, at Autism’s Got Talent show alongside one of my old dance teams from WD Studios. It was an amazing show and experience.
‘Just watching a showcase of people on the autistic spectrum – ranging from singers, rappers, dancers, musicians, poets, even magicians. Since then, more opportunities have fortunately came my way, some of those being able to do solo performances, and l loved it. Am very grateful for the opportunities.
‘2017 was such a great year filled with opportunities, one of them was winning a scholarship to train with Pineapple Performing Arts School. I was 14 years old when I applied for the scholarship.
‘Weeks later, it was announced that I was chosen to train with Pineapple in September. In the meantime l managed to get into Flawless Dance School so in the morning l trained with flawless dance school in the afternoon I was at pineapple studios. I enjoyed training at both studios, they were both different but helped my dancing journey. l was very happy no words could have expressed my feelings.
‘Ever since l started dancing, I found myself always wanting to dance. It made me more confident, l become a unique solo dance artist, l found myself dancing in a style called ‘krump’. When l krump I release my energy and express myself and my emotions. I feel free. I dance when l am happy, I dance when l am sad, l dance because l am a dancer and it is my passion. Dance and music have helped me through my GCSE exams and now with college.
‘Fast forward to now, I am now an ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online. If you asked me how it feels to be an ambassador, l would say it feels humbling to be part of the AKO family. I never expected this honour and privilege.
‘Thank you Anna for creating a platform for people like us, to showcase us talented individuals, to speak for the voiceless. Anna and the team are a role model to the SEND community, whatever she speaks on, needs to be heard left, right and centre, most people can relate, we just need more to hear us out, which is why we’re raising awareness, people are getting the message which is a good thing.
‘What I hope to bring to the AKO charity, is to raise further awareness and acceptance in the community and promote the charity as well. I will be doing more rapping and dancing and articles to articulate my thoughts on what happens in life (Black Lives Matter, mental health, autism of course, music, environmental events/incidents).
‘I was inspired to write when my mum wrote her article entitled ‘I am Sad’.
‘More people need to have a read and take note of, which then led me to write this article, you are reading right now.
‘One day Mum and l will write a book on our journey, not yet. To now be a part of the AKO is unexpected, but definitely worthwhile. l’m proper happy that I am an AKO ambassador, I think this is one of my BEST moments to date.
‘Anna has shown me a endless amount of love and support in what I do ever since we met. Thank you Anna for this moment, it wouldn’t have been possible without you, and also for showing me support each and every single time.’