Sisanda Msekele is an incredible South Afri-CAN who against all odds, continues to inspire & teach us what bravery really is.
Sisanda, an orphaned South African from the Eastern Cape lost her eye-sight at 18 during her matric year, the year that is known as the most difficult year of school.
She may not have had a great support system or been in the greatest of circumstances, but Sisanda had a dream & a goal & the will to make it happen.
“When I heard the news, my dreams were shattered but I knew… I had to suck it up & face the world.”
She had the option of quitting, but instead, found a way of adjusting and learning. The transition wasn’t easy but she did it. Passing her matric would have made her a heroine in many people’s eyes but it wasn’t enough for her… even with 4 distinctions… she was determined to go further – and she did.
“They had to record my textbooks into tapes which I could study from & my exams had to be taken orally, which took up-to 8 hours. The schools didn’t have the necessary means to help a blind person so my words were transcribed by anyone the school could find… they even used one of the cleaning ladies to help me write one of my finals.”
But Msekele does not let her blindness define her, she doesn’t see herself as disabled.
Not only did she matriculate that year, Sisanda started studying towards a degree, & then her honours & then went on to get her masters in Neuropsychology earlier this year.
“The label “disabled” was created by society. Its not the wheelchair that can’t get up the stairs… its the stairs that create the problem. We need to redefine what “normal” is!”
Education was not her only goal, Sisanda is also a national rowing champion, a role she loves & has even competed in the London Paralympics.
Her team competed in the World Rowing Championships – a London Olympics qualifier & won the C-final, which wasn’t a qualifying race, but sufficient to rank the team 13th in the whole world.
The future doesn’t scare Sisanda either… she’s just joined the corporate world & is ready to create positive change on a much larger scale…
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there… fight for what you want & give it everything you have! If you fall down & you have to crawl to move forward… do that! Just keep moving forward, give it everything you have”