"If I want to encourage young
people back home to get to where I am,
I have to be an example."
“Now my son will have the opportunities
to make his dreams come true.”
“Today I work in a male dominated work force.
My father would be so proud of me.”

The Tiso Foundation Sponsors the Urban Legend


The Tiso Foundation (“the Foundation”) a public benefit organisation (PBO) established in 2001 by the founders of the Tiso Group is pleased to announce its partnership with the Urban Legend Foundation on the Urban Legend comic series. The Urban Legend is a black superhero created by Josef Yohannes to be a positive role model and inspire children all over the world to follow their dreams. Until the creation of the Urban Legend, African children have not had an official superhero. Yohannes created his hero whilst traveling in Africa in 2010 and meeting impoverished children. He could see their potential, yet they didn’t have any positive role models. “I really wanted to inspire them with something that could give them hope of a better tomorrow, something that could inspire them to follow their dreams and never give up no matter what circumstances they were facing,” Josef Yohannes says. “So I had an epiphany about creating my own hero that could inspire them and kids all over the world.”

The Urban Legend’s alter ego is the teacher Malcolm T. Madiba, who is named after Malcolm X, Yohannes’ father Tzegai, and Nelson Mandela. The comic book hero, Malcolm, has a strong personality but Yohannes wanted a human aspect to him, too. His goal at its core is to exist in a world where people can live freely and not be prisoners to their own environment. As a true superhero Malcolm is ready to die for his principles and has no problem taking on those who work against them.

Yohannes explains, “It’s a story that deals with everyday struggles and how to overcome them in a world filled with corruption, hopelessness and with lots of bad guys.”

Mr. Yohannes has been made a Mandela ambassador for ”The Nelson Mandela Library project” and” The Nelson Mandela bangle project” which are initiatives of The Nelson Mandela Foundation. The duty of an ambassador is to spread former President Nelson Mandela´s goals and vision and to preserve his legacy in the best way an ambassador can, and in this case, that is by helping and inspiring people to the best of their ability. The tenure as an Ambassador will be a series of collaborations and projects between Urban Legend Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation with a focus on improving literacy rates and improving educational standards across Africa and rest of the world.

The Tiso Foundation has always believed that the development of human potential is the basis of individual empowerment and underpins the progress of communities and nations. South Africa’s opportunities will best be realised by unlocking the potential of its richly talented youth.

The Urban Legend project is one which the Tiso Foundation is excited to be supporting, as it aims to address poor literacy levels amongst youth. The Urban Legend comic centres around educating youth on pressing issues, in a fun and accessible way. The Tiso Foundation wants to encourage youth literacy and promote the importance of education from early childhood development phase, through to a tertiary level, where we have a number of programmes to support their studies and development as future leaders.

By focusing its efforts on education and skills development, the Tiso Foundation has enabled many young people from poor and rural communities to obtain qualifications and skills that have vastly enhanced their life opportunities.


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