Last semester at uni i did the unit “Cross Cultural Counseling.” One of the activities we had to do early on in the class was to bring an image that represents who we are, that represents our heritage. I chose the image on the right because i felt it represents my heritage. Read about it here.
I really didn’t think much about it when i chose this image, it was just an image of Africa that i really loved. A few weeks later i began to ponder on this and just wondering why this image stood out so much to me and i finally got it. The Zulu proverb is “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu: A person is a person because of people.” It speaks so much about my life, particularly my life with a disability. It speaks of the way my family loved and accepted my disability at birth. Many people with disabilities where i come from are abandoned at birth. Fathers blame mothers for the child’s disability and in most cases gives the mother an ultimatum to choose between him and the child because the father in his mind cannot fathom how he fathered a child with a disability. Some even go as far as saying the child is bewitched. So the mother in a bid to save her marriage will either abandon the child at her mother’s for the grandmother to raise the child or she will leave the child at some children’s home. This ladies and gentlemen is the story of many kids with disabilities in my beautiful country. I however have a different story to tell. When i was born, my parents loved and accepted me just the way i am. No relatives living or dead ever discriminated against me, ever spoke ill of my disability because they saw the way my parents loved and cared for him and they in turn had no choice but to accept and love me too.
It is because of my family that i had the best education that money could buy.
It is because of my family that i am currently in university.
It is because of my family that i have never lacked anything.
It is because of my family that i am confident, passionate and full of life.
It is because of my family that i have a relationship with God.
It is because of my family that i dream with no limits.
It is because of my family that i know i have rights even with my disability.
It is because of my family that i am here today.
It is because of my family that i am passionate about people with disabilities.
For anybody particularly so a person with a disability, the love and support of a family is everything. Without this, a person with a disability cannot live up to their full potential.
It all starts at birth, when a child comes into this world with a disability. How the parents respond in that moment determines the quality of life the child will have.
It is because of my family that i am, without them there is no me. I AM BECAUSE THEY ARE !!!