Ricardo de Sao Joao is the Wits SRC administrator, and also works for the Student Development and Learning Unit. Besides having a Wits Master’s degree in International Relations (IR), he is an avid cook and loves helping students wherever possible. De Sao Joao has become well-known for helping others, despite a disability which makes walking difficult.
Describe yourself in a few words.
I’m legit one of those faces that everyone knows but can never place. I’m a bit of a chameleon-type person too, I try and blend in.
What is your personal philosophy?
I was brought up to believe that anything others can do, I can do better. Even with my disability I make sure to give things everything I’ve got and more.
What has been the most exciting or impactful moment of your life?
When I was in first year, my IR tutor asked to speak to me after a tutorial one day. Initially I thought I was in trouble but he took out a book on South African International Affairs and said: “I want you to have this book because something about you screams potential.” If it wasn’t for his encouragement, my path to where I am now would not have been solidified. His continuous reinforcement helped me get to where I am today.
What were your experiences on campus like as disabled student?
I did my best not to let it affect my university life. Things like getting to class on time and requesting parking nearby my classes were sometimes difficult but it always worked out in the end. I did everything very normally: wrote exams, had classes and attended tuts with everyone else, no special assistance needed.
What sets you apart from the rest?
My tenacity. Good or bad, I have a knack for irritating the shit out of people until I get what I need.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming SRC elections?
It’s going to be interesting as there are a lot of parties running this year, and things will get heated. I’m a huge fan of competition though – it keeps you on your toes!
What is your message to Witsies?
Always be kind to everyone around you. A smile or a “hello” can make a big difference.