By Tebogo Mahlaela and Amogelang Mbatha
Disabilities come in various forms; some are silent while others are readily visible. No matter what the form of disability, each has its inherent challenges, none of which have stopped Witsies with disabilities from pursuing their dreams.
Thandile Kondilati, 3RD year BA student, at the tender age of just a day old had her arm amputated because doctors discovered that she had muscle cancer. The 22 year old presents Kids News on SABC1 and also worked as a news anchor for Rainbow Fm 90.7.
“I don’t regard myself as physically disadvantaged, if I want to do something, I go for it. In the society we live in, people are judgmental, especially to physically challenged people. I get odd stares from people, but I’m very honest about what happened to me,” she says.
Sportsman Katleho Sera, a 1st year BA student, suffers from cerebral palsy, a condition that affects muscle control. He says Wits should cater for disabled sports.
“I am an athlete but go all the way to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to practice. We need more support from Wits, or maybe it should team up with UJ in terms of sports.”
The 21 year old‘s dream is graduating and getting into the advertising business. He believes that with the support he gets from the disability unit (DU), he will pull through. “I feel at home when I am at DU because I am surrounded by people with similar conditions as mine.”
Another student, Jimmy Ramokgopa, studying 2nd year BSc (civil engineering), has a disability of visual imparity – he can see but his vision has blind spots. Chairperson of the Disability Awareness Movement (DAM), he says that the organisation is working on spreading awareness about the different kinds of disabilities.
The DU supports students with all kinds of disabilities. Students with temporary disabilities, such as a broken limb, may ask for assistance for the duration of their impairment. The DU can be found in Senate House – ground floor, East Campus.