Vol10 no3 2018
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This edition’s cover image was captured by
ELSA NIEMOLLER (23), a B Tech: Visual Communication (Photography) student, who has a special interest in editorial fashion photography. She explores how fashion photography can be used as a tool to address issues, such as discrimination and inequality. The cover image, featuring Fashion Design and Technology student, Kgaladi Phadime, is an editorial fashion image that consists of tribal and Western elements. “These elements are meant to create a juxtaposition that represents the search for identity between the traditional and the modern Western culture that is found among some of South Africa’s black youth,” says Elsa.
Wisdom turns setbacks into comebacks
Wisdom Hleza (24), a final-year Legal Assistance student at the Soshanguve Campus, chooses not to be limited by a major setback that he experienced several years ago. He shares his story of hope with Heita!
In 2008, aged thirteen, his life took an unexpected 360 degree turn. One day he was still hearing 100%, the next, he woke up completely deaf. Initially, doctors were stunned by his condition, but eventually linked it to Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Out of necessity, the energetic teenager had to drop out of the Hlabelela Secondary School in Bronkhorstspruit, where he was a Grade 8 learner at the time. A year later, he enrolled at the Filadelfia Secondary School for Learners with Special Educative Needs (LSEN) in Soshanguve. “It was a huge adjustment,” he recalls. He had to learn Sign Language and work extra hard to make his grades.
Luckily, there was also an angel in his midst, Nicolette Koukeas, his Speech Therapy teacher. She played an instrumental role in giving Wisdom the gift of sound through The Beautiful Noise Cochlear Implant Project, initiated by the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Board (SBAHB).
The SBAHB-Robert Kerr Trust Health Programme established The Beautiful Noise Cochlear implant Project in 2009 to financially support and facilitate procedures currently not funded by the Government. Since 2009, the gift of sound was given to more than 15 previously profoundly deaf and hearing impaired individuals.
In 2010, there were enough funds for Wisdom to undergo a Cochlear Implant (CI). A CI is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing in both ears. It was switched on in January 2011. “It was amazing. I could hear again! I still remember my mom,
Siphiwe, calling my name over and over again. “I had to learn to hear all over again.” Currently, Wisdom’s hearing is 75%.
After completing Grade 12 in 2013, he enrolled for an internship at Hollard Insurance, and joined TUT the next year. “I always had a dream of becoming a Human Rights Lawyer for disabled people,” he says. He wants to enrol for an LLB degree next year.
Being a deaf student comes with its own challenges. He is extremely sensitive to higher pitches, and if fellow students make noise in corridors, for instance, he would hear that, rather than what the lecturer says.
Luckily, the Disability Unit on the Campus provides him with assistive devices that aid his studies. It’s going well on the academic front. The go-getter has managed to get seven distinctions in his eighteen modules thus far.
Wisdom Hleza (24), a Legal Assistance student who had a Cochlear Implant as a teenager, excels in his studies.
"It was amazing. I could hear again! I still remember my mom calling my name over and over again."
BORN AND BRED: Elim (between Polokwane and Makhado, formerly known as Louis Trichardt) in the Limpopo Province.
YOUR STORY: I was born with a rare skin condition which also affects my bone structure. As a result, I had to use a wheelchair from a very young age. I completed my primary schooling at the Champions Academy and secondary schooling at the Emmanuel Christian High School (both in Makhado).
WHY TUT: Initially, I wanted to talk for a living and therefore applied for Journalism. Unfortunately, I was not accepted and then opted for my second choice, Logistics. I’m currently in my second-year and enjoy my studies. However, I still hope to present one day.
CHALLENGES: TUT still lacks a bit in assisting disabled students in terms of accessibility, transportation, and some academic issues. Overall, abled-bodied students are treating us well.
AIMS OF THIS-ABILITY: To make the lives of students with disabilities worthwhile at the University, by advocating for their rights; To make studying and learning conducive for them; To be their voice; To meet their diverse needs; To host disability awareness campaigns; To reach out to schools for the physically disabled and “abled” youth, to educate them about and assist them with applying at a university; and To help disabled students with access to bursaries.
HOPES AND DREAMS: I want become financially independent and care for my mother, Patience, and little brother, Ndima (15).
ROLE MODELS: Nicholas James Vujicic, a Serbian-Australian Christian evangelist and motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of arms and legs. I also look up to Rhulani Baloyi, co-presenter of the educational programme Shift on SABC1 and a trustee of the SA Mobility for the Blind Trust.
CONTACT US: Myself at 076 532 1605 or Thabang Mankaba (Secretary) at 078 486 9472. You can also follow us on Facebook.
New Chair takes This-ABILITY forward
This-Ability, a TUT structure representing disabled students, celebrates its first birthday this year. We chatted to its new Chairperson, Misho Muhlava (22), who says This-Ability is not a political party, but that the structure wants to make changes that will impact current and future disabled students.
Misho Muhlava (22)
DO YOU THINK DISABLED PEOPLE GET THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE AS ABLED PEOPLE?
Sport and Exercise Technology
“They do get opportunities, but not as much as abled people. Some institutions specify in their employment requirements the kind of people that they are looking for; and that may exclude disabled people.”
“There are disabled people at some of the workplaces that I have visited; and that shows that they are also considered and given opportunities to apply for different jobs.”
JANSE VAN RENSBURG (19)
“No, they are disadvantaged. They often struggle because there is no suitable equipment and transport to accommodate them. Many people also look down on them.”
“No, because there are job opportunities that restrict them. Whenever they get opportunities, people always look down on them and criticise their work.”
“They do get the same opportunities. In most instances, they actually get first preference when it comes to getting jobs and they receive better salaries.”
The mobility of a student who suffers from a movement disorder has improved significantly since two Biokinetics students have taken him under their wing. Heita! saw the threesome in the gym at the Pretoria Campus where they meet thrice a week and have formed a very special bond.
Treasure Riba (25), a third-year Officiating and Coaching Science student who hails from Sekhukhune in the Limpopo Province, was born with Cerebral Palsy. This condition is characterised by movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people and can include poor coordination, stiff and weak muscles, and tremors. Treasure also experiences problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking.
Lately he’s been struggling with his mobility and was mostly wheelchair bound. It’s by chance that he bumped into Corli de Ruyter (24) and Alindi Scheffer (23), two B Tech Sport and Exercise Technology students who will graduate during the Autumn graduation ceremonies. They offered to assist him.
They assessed Treasure and immediately devised a rehabilitation programme. The results have been remarkable and, within only a couple of weeks, his quality of life has improved considerably,” says Corli and Alindi.
“I can walk again, even stairs. I cycle, row, fasten my own shoelaces and my stiffness has also decreased substantially,” Treasure says proudly. The rehabilitation follows a holistic approach, therefore it’s not strange to find Corli and Alindi adding a good dose of humor into the mix. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not strict. When Treasure was late for one of his appointments recently, he felt so bad that he did all the exercises by himself.
Corli and Alindi are part of a group of students who are undergoing internships at TUT that will pave the way for them to become Biokineticists. As part of the programme, they have to gain practical experience in a variety of fields.
The practical experience includes assisting patients/clients with orthopedic rehabilitation, chronic disease management (diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV etc.), pregnancy, injury prevention, general wellbeing (improvement of quality of life of elderly people and children), talent identification in children, disabilities and high performance.
“The experience with Treasure has taught us to be more appreciative of our health,” says Corli and Alindi.
Corli has her sights set on becoming an academic, while Alindi plans to become a trauma rep and run her own mobile practice.
Treasure dreams of becoming a soccer coach, preferably for Sundowns.
The experience with Treasure has taught us to be more appreciative of our health.
Treasure Riba (25) with Alindi Scheffer (23) and Corli de Ruyter (24) in the gym at the Pretoria Campus.
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Heita! is an electronic student newsletter of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
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All work and no play make Jack (and Jill) a dull boy (and girl).
It’s easy! All you have to do is answer the following
question (don’t fret, you should get the answer somewhere
in this edition): WHO IS THE CHAIRPERSON
LEBOHANG FARIRAI (19), a Management student at the Pretoria Campus, is the winner of the competition featured in Heita! Vol10 no2 2018.
SPEND THE R300 WISELY.
The winner of the COASTERS IS: VUSI NDLOVU (22), a Software Development student at the eMalahleni Campus.