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Business Skills for South Africa

A man with vision reaches for his dream

A 32-year-old blind man in the small rural town of Jane Furse in Limpopo has not let the loss of his eyesight stand in the way of fulfilling his dreams.

Lefa Nkadimeng, who is a trainee switchboard operator at the Jane Furse Memorial Hospital during the week, gives up his free time on weekends to teach others who have lost their sight to read and type in braille. His ambition is to try and lower the high levels of illiteracy in the blind community.

To help him achieve this and expand his informal school, Lefa has completed several courses offered by BSSA.

“My dream is to run a successful school for blind people where they will learn to read and write. I would be very happy to see them become employable and earning a living too,” he says.

Lefa was born with excellent vision in Manganeng village just outside Jane Furse. “But when I was five years old my eyesight started deteriorating. My parents and I didn’t think too much about it, hoping it was a minor problem that would pass with time,” he says.

Unfortunately it was serious and in 2005 Lefa was declared legally blind. Despite the loss of his eyesight, the young man decided nothing would keep him from fulfilling his ambitions. He matriculated at Setotolwane Elsen Secondary School for the blind and deaf and 2001 and went on to obtain his N4 Diploma in Human Resources at Capricorn FET College in Polokwane.

The BSSA courses Lefa has completed include customer care, marketing, financial management, project management and entrepreneurship.

He has become involved in a number of community development projects, but the work closest to Lefa’s heart is fighting illiteracy among blind people. “Since we started this project I’ve been teaching my students English, Sepedi and Maths. I began the project when I realised how few schools there were for disabled people in our region.”

The entrepreneurial young man has earned the respect of many in the blind community. A spokesperson for Blind SA says of Lefa: “He has always remained optimistic and has chosen to become a role model, proving that despite losing his eyesight, he’s a man with vision.”

Article and picture courtesy of Drum magazine.

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