Meet Andrew Botha, a meek young man filled with ambition and a willingness to learn. From a young age he knew that he was not like his peers in terms of physical abilities. In September 2005, he was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder and in 2009, while in secondary school underwent an operation to correct his scoliosis, resulting in him missing the first term of his grade 11 year.
Despite his physical challenges, he never became dispirited and never lost hope. Growing up in Schauderville, which is rather infamous for gangsterism, Botha and his sisters were diligent at school, determined to rise above circumstance and make a success of their lives. After completing school, Botha immediately began seeking work but his disability and lack of qualifications were hindering him.
The turning point came when he was offered the chance to undergo a Business Administration learnership through The Boardwalk which was introduced to provide skills development opportunities for young people with disabilities.
Botha’s enthusiasm and commitment was immediately noticed, and he was offered a temporary position as a training coordinator at The Boardwalk while he completed his learnership. After a year of diligence, The Boardwalk offered him a permanent position as switchboard operator. He loves his job and working at the busy Boardwalk, and says he is keen to keep climbing the ladder there.
“The Business Administration learnership changed my life and has indeed served as a foundation for me to further my studies as well as my working career. Had it not been for this opportunity, I believe it would have been very difficult for me to find employment,” says Botha, adding that he believes there are lots of opportunities for him at Sun International, despite his disability.
“I am living with a rare condition called Minicore Myopathy which slows down the progression of muscle growth within the human body. Due to my physical disabilities, I am limited in the types of jobs and fields I can pursue. However, I am mobile and I am no different from anyone else who has ambition and career aspirations.”
His pet hat is complaining and people who complain.
“Complaining gets you nowhere,” he says.
His advice to other youths who face challenges in furthering their studies or gaining employment; “Refrain from allowing your mind to control you by believing you can’t get something done because of disadvantages within your life, whether it’s family or personal problems. You can achieve a lot if you just stay focused. I always imagine only having myself and not having anyone to assist me with getting through life. This leaves no choice but to make something of yourself, by yourself. My motto is ‘a true winner never gives up’. I have always lived by this.”
The Boardwalk’s General Manager Brett Hoppé says; “Andrew’s story is inspiring for young people who might feel hopeless about their future. He is proof that if you have a willingness to learn and a positive outlook, you can rise above your circumstances to achieve. Grab every opportunity to develop that comes your way. You have the power to change your reality.”
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