Eddie Ndopu is an inspirational South African and being called one of the most powerful disabled people on the planet for his plans to venture into space.
Eddie Ndopu’s greatest dream is to go into space and it is about to come true! Eddie is an inspirational man, at the age of two, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that has left him in a wheelchair.
Having lived his life in a wheelchair, Eddie is a big advocate for inclusivity. He has worked hard his entire life and is now an internationally recognised human rights advocate. Eddie has been voted as one of the World’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30 and one of the 50 Most Powerful Disabled People on the Planet.
Eddie has refused to be defined or confined by his wheelchair so he has actively worked to influence public policy and advocate social transformation.
“I’ve learned that of course equal recognition is important. But in terms of where I’m at now, that is not an end in and of itself; I am not just fighting for access to get into the building – I’m fighting for joy, intimacy, belonging, self-determination – nebulous things that are hard to quantify. That is where the real work is. I want people to be powerful, the very best versions of themselves, everything their imagination desires – beyond the ramp, beyond compliance. I want to open up talk about the emotional and personal, so we can experience the totality of our humanity.”
Eddie is now planning to be the first physically disabled person to travel into space. MTV will be documenting his journey there which is incredibly exciting. His aim is to broadcast a special message to the UN General Assembly on behalf of young disabled people everywhere who have ever felt excluded by society.
“I like to describe myself as black, queer, disabled and fabulous. My disability is just one aspect of my life and I want to show the world that the words “disability” and “possibility” belong in the same sentence. I want to address the UN General Assembly from space to show young people who represent a cross-section of society that with a larger than life personality and a bit of human ingenuity, there’s nothing one cannot achieve,”
Eddie has already been cleared for space travel as his lung capacity is enough but he will face other challenges. He is determined to make it work.
“There are reasons why people living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy have never travelled into space before. Their bodies are not built to withstand such gruelling activities, but I’m determined to show the world that anything is possible.”
We cannot wait to follow Eddie’s journey into space. Stay tuned for more.