visually impaired
Photo Credit: Supplied

“If there is a reading of my life that allows someone to believe that there is a window of possibility and opportunity where they previously believed there was none, then it is heart-warming for me to hear that.”

Thabang Manamela is celebrating getting his Law Masters!


Pretoria, South Africa (14 September 2023) — Thabang Manamela, a visually impaired attorney and student has an outlook on life that even those with twenty-twenty vision often lack.

Born with glaucoma, Thabang lost his eyesight at an early age. Despite becoming visually impaired, his ambition became his strongest sense and led him to dreams accomplished.

Thabang’s first big dream come true moment happened when he received his LLB in 2019 from the University of Pretoria.

“Pardon the cliché, but this is a dream come true,” he said at the time.

“Achieving this LLB is symbolic of the fact that if I want something, I can and will get it no matter what. I know now that I really am in charge of my life and all my career aspirations,” he shared.

But Thabang didn’t slow down there. A year later, he was enrolled for his LLM (Law Masters) en route to another dream and at a time when students everywhere faced an entirely foreign landscape—the pandemic.

“Obtaining this degree was demanding, more so because I registered at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the various phases of lockdown. That made it challenging in terms of accessing the campus and resources, but it was an enriching journey. 

“I worked on the master’s project, but the master’s project also worked on me—you do not come out the same once you do a postgraduate degree such as this.”

In 2022, he celebrated another achievement after joining the Department of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law as an academic associate. He is still on the teaching team and assists with the History of Philosophy and Human Rights module.

Despite his dedication to law, an important passion of his is exploring different modes of thinking, imagining and reading the South African political landscape and foundations.

Not to mention, he is also an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa.

It comes as little surprise that Thabang is an inspiration to his community both in his past, the present and bets are on for the future too.

“If there is a reading of my life that allows someone to believe that there is a window of possibility and opportunity where they previously believed there was none, then it is heart-warming for me to hear that.”—Thabang Manamela.

He also shares the hope that his life’s reading will inspire others who are visually impaired or on other tough paths of their own to change their perspectives from focusing on their immediate circumstances to focusing on their goals.

“No matter who you are, when pursuing a dream, what is important, above all, is conviction, if you know what you stand for.

“Then you can use any and all resources that you have access to in pursuit of what you believe in. There are many challenges that are outside of your control, but you need to take it one step at a time, and work on yourself and your environment to make a contribution to the point of even changing some other aspects of the society in which you live.”—Thabang Manamela.

Thabang shares gratitude that institutions like UP help ensure the dreams of students aren’t limited if they live with a disability, and is looking forward to his next dream—his doctorate!

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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