‘MY DISABILITY IS NOT MY INABILITY’
Written by: Elizabeth Kunene & Venal Naidu
‘My disability is not my inability’ was the slogan chanted at this year’s first disability week by the Durban University of Technology (DUT), held at their Ritson campus on Friday.
The event was hosted by Gugu Sacolo who said that she managed to convinced sponsors and the university itself to look at challenges that disabled students face at the university.
“The challenges we face as a university is that we need access for student to be able to move around from point A to B without anything hindering them. We also have been in negotiations with the university to build more ramps for wheelchair students and lifts,” said Sacolo.
She also added that lecture venues that would cater to all students need to be built for easier access.
Some of the speakers raised their concerned on disabled students being treated differently to a point where some students have to be carried to their lecture venues because some vicinities at the university are not user friendly for disabled students.
Lehohlonyolo Mokhohlouloane, who is the safety specialist at the university, said that he was shocked to see the conditions of the university when he arrived but can now see gradual change.
“There were no ramps when I arrived here at some point I even saw a student have a meeting outside with a lecture in one of the campuses because it wasn’t user friendly. However with time and effort, I do see change and the university is willing to help and change this situation,” added Mokhohlouloane.
Sacolo also said that she is hoping that students that did attend the event learnt something new and are willing to teach others. She would also like for all students and people in general to treat each other with respect and dignity.
Neil van de Merwe, who is a lecturer at DUT in medical orthotic and prosthetics, is also disabled and was there to give comfort and an amazing story for everyone that was there to learn from.
“I want people to see disabled (people) as different but also for disabled people to look at themselves in a positive light and know that every day you are in a rehabilitation process,” said van de Merwe.
Those in attendance said that they are looking forward to more disability awareness week events n the future.
*Caption: Disabled students at the event sharing information to the rest.