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The 23-year-old Riverton resident beats rhythmically on his drums before a flawless smile illuminates his face.
Dagan August stops playing, opens his eyes and muses in an angelic voice: “I just want to say this… Don’t do drugs! Rather listen to the rhythm in your heart.”
His declaration carries more weight when read in context.
Dagan, the special needs grandchild of Kayda August, suffers from brain injuries and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with a severe learning disability.
Kayla was told that Dagan would never be able to read or write, but she always knew that his condition would not stand in the way of him fulfilling his destiny.
As it turns out, this destiny is to inspire other special needs individuals with his exceptional drumming and dancing skills.
“He was a healthy baby, but his brain got hurt when he was born… He was unstable on his feet as a child and had difficulty speaking. It was later discovered that his concentration levels are also very low. We were told that Dagan would never be able to study academically,” Kayda says.
Dagan was admitted to a school for mentally handicapped children, Bel Porto, and stayed there up until the age of 18.
“I like music videos,” says Dagan suddenly. His grandmother consequently asks him to go to busy himself in his room during the interview.
“Everyone in our family loves music. Dagan used to sit in front of the radio and sing along,” she continues.
Kayda has since come to realise that Dagan’s true talent isn’t singing, but rather drumming and dancing.
“In Bel Porto the children were given instruments to play and we quickly realised that Dagan loves to drum. So when he was about seven years old, we bought him a drum,” she smiles.
Dagan walks into the room and laughs: “I threw the bee, but the bee flew away! I don’t know where the bee went.”
Kayda explains: “Yes, Dagan threw his first drum set at a bee. It broke, but his grandfather fixed it for him.”
Every second week Dagan plays the drums for the church band and every now and again, he goes to abandoned and abused children’s homes to entertain the kids.
While Kayda tells Dagan’s story, he sings to himself.
“He also does ballroom dancing. He can swing, cha-cha and rumba, to name but a few!” she exclaims proudly.
Kayda talks about Dagan’s other talents, such as swimming, ice skating and karate, but Dagan suddenly says: “One should move away from those who use drugs. People must­n’t see you take drugs and then you go and lie to your parents. Why would you do that? I’d rather play with my music.”
After the interview, Dagan went to his room and pulled some of his superb dancing moves.

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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