For just two minutes Witsies felt what it was like to be blind.
The Disability Awareness Movement (DAM) held a series of events during the week, which included a blind run, games at the library lawns and discussions around employment for persons with disabilities.
“I think through participation one can gain a lot,” said DAM chairperson Jimmy Ramokgopa. “[The events] place people in a disabled person’s shoes.”
The 2nd year civil engineering student said they tried to convey the message through different channels.
“For people who are active we had games, for people who like discussion we had talks and then we have a film screening on Friday [about silent disabilities].”
One of the activities was a blind run. Students were blindfolded and had to navigate through a course surrounded by ropes.
Ot Goiwakae, a 3rd year drama student, had a particularly hard time finishing the course. “I felt insecure.
“I had someone to assist me and tell me where to go, but imagine if I didn’t.”
The DAM also organised a career day for grade 11 students from Filadelfia Secondary School and Hope School for children with disabilities. Christelle Bester, a teacher at Hope School, felt parts of Wits were “not really wheelchair accessible”.
The movement coordinated the events with other organisations such as the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA), Johannesburg Society for the Blind and Association for the Physically Disabled.
Lubabalo Mbeki from the NCPPDSA hopes to encourage people with disabilities to get educated for better employment opportunities.
“One of my targets is looking at placing persons with disabilities in prominent positions and create leaders,” he said.
Ramokgopa said “Our objective was to provide the necessary tools and information to people.
“What they do with that is personal… So in that sense our aim was met.”