Four Casual Day ambassadors will be honoured at the upcoming Tributes Excellence Awards, which honours women with disabilities. Lois Strachan, Jabulile Ngwenya, Terry-Ann Adams and Bongi Mdluli have been selected as some of the extraordinary women with disabilities whose achievements will be celebrated at the three-day event to be held in Mangaung from 26 to 28 August 2015.
Strachan is a well-known personality on the speaking circuit and has written a series of children’s books, “The Adventures of Missy Mouse”, about a blind mouse who uses her other senses to engage with the world around her. Lois became blind at the age of 21, as a result of childhood onset diabetes. She used her love of music to help her cope with her blindness and is now an inspirational speaker, workshop facilitator and author.
She says: “When I became blind I realized I had a choice – I could go home and give up, be angry and depressed for the rest of my life, or I could go out there and see what life still had to offer me as a blind person.”
She will receive the Tributes statuette in the Literature/Education Category, says Musa Zulu, creative director of Valhalla Arts, the organiser of these national awards.
Ngwenya, a screenwriter and journalist, will be honoured in the Creative Arts Category. She was born deaf but attended mainstream schools – she matriculated from The Wykeham Collegiate in Pietermaritzburg, KZN – and now holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University where she specialised in writing and editing, and in multimedia. Only much later, in her thirties, did she receive two cochlear implants which allow her to hear sound clearly. She will receive the statuette in the Creative Arts Category.
Terry-Ann Adams grew up the only albino in her family, in her school, in her suburb and in her community. Born and raised in Eldorado Park in Johannesburg, she had to endure a lot of prejudice and discrimination. “I was born into a Coloured family. As the only albino, not only in my family, but in my community as well, it was a bit challenging for people to understand me,” she says.
“I was lucky my mom and grandparents went to support groups. And took me to treatments and specialists so that I could be the best that I can be. Unfortunately, my dad and his family did not wish to be a part of my life because of my disability. This was hard, but I have come out stronger. As a disabled woman, who is also Coloured, I have learned that support from people who care for you is the most important thing.” Adams will be honoured in the Media Communications Category.
Bongi Mdluli will receive the Young Role Model Award for her passion for using her disability to help others. The brave cancer survivor who agreed to have her left leg amputated to save her life, started the Confidence Driven Youth Club which uses storytelling, camps, speaking opportunities and events to raise funds.
Casual Day is on Friday 4 September and the community is asked to dress up in the theme Spring into Action for persons with disabilities. Sponsored by The Edcon Group, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA).
Says Therina Wentzel, director of the NCPPDSA: “Women with disabilities have massive challenges for accessibility, education, transport and everything that most of us take for granted, so we congratulate these women for their achievements.”
Get your stickers from your local participating organisation or these stores: Edgars, Jet, JetMart, Boardmans, CNA, Red Square, Legit, Game, DionWired, Shoprite or Checkers.
The TRIBUTES initiative involves identifying, profiling and celebrating high-profile women with disabilities that have left lasting legacies in various fields of society.
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