It has been a year since SABC Disability 360 was launched and the project has been growing traction. In the past 12 months, the Public Broadcaster dedicated a total of 6 667 minutes and 464 disability related interviews across its 19 Radio Stations.
The first anniversary celebration of SABC Disability 360 took place on Thursday, 30 November at the M1 Studio and perfectly ties in with Disability Rights Awareness Month.
Chairperson of the Board of SABC Foundation and member of the SABC Board , Mr Mathata Tsedu, encouraged management to work towards meeting the disability employment quota. "It is not acceptable that a Public Broadcaster like the SABC only has 2.1% disabled employees. We need to do all we can to meet the compulsory 7%. We should be sending a clear message of inclusivity and creating equal opportunities for all," he said.
As this year's theme is focused around the empowerment of young people, 29 year old Ms Itumeleng Sekhu was the guest speaker for the day. “I was burned by a candle when I was 11 months old. When my mother saw smoke coming from her bedroom, she ran to check up on me but it was already too late. By that time, my face was severely burnt and my right hand was already detached from my body. From 11 months to 15 years, I underwent 104 surgeries to rectify my scars and burns, including my mouth, nose, ear and scalp," she shared her story.
She also revealed that she tried committing suicide a number of times and it was only when she was 19 years that she had an encounter with God that she started seeing life from a new perspective: “for the first time in my life, I started seeing beauty in my scars. My hand had not grown back, my face was still scarred and I still had just one thumb, the only thing that changed was my mindset and from then on my life took a different turn for the better. It’s not about what people see, you have the power to define yourself and reach the full potential that people do not see in you."
Also present at the event was Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu. She encouraged everyone to be accommodative and sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. "I am a proud disabled woman because the word disability is not associated with one's ability. To all disabled people in the room I would like to leave you with this message: the longer you struggle with your identity, the longer you delay yourself to be great. The time you spend trying to deny the classification, is the time stolen from you to live your purpose," she remarked."
This event was a reminder that each and every person is made for more and we should dig deep within ourselves to find our purpose regardless our circumstances.
By Lebohang Sekete
Picture: Lungelo Mbulwana