Lindokuhle Mtshali (26) was diagnosed with spina bifida as a toddler and as a result, had both his legs amputated, confining him to a wheelchair.
After conquering the distress and physiological trauma that came with the physical impairment, Mtshali went on to live a fulfilling life that included participation in sports.
Mtshali participated in the recent wheelchair spirit games hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni at Vosloorus Stadium in partnership with the Wheels of Change organisation.
He had words of encouragement for those who are physically impaired and still battling to come to terms with their situation.
“The worst thing one can do to themselves is to live in isolation and hide from the outside world, but the moment you step out you realise there are other people on wheelchairs just like you,” he said.
“So go out there and live, the situation could have been worse.”
The games saw able-bodied participants competing with people living with physical impairment in a wheelchair marathon and wheelchair basketball.
“I am fully able to do anything, except to walk,” said Mtshali.
“This is who I am and abled people need to realise that the only difference between them and us is our inability to walk.”
One of the able-bodied participants, Mandla Nkosi, stated that people often underestimate those in wheelchairs.
“I take my hat off to people who are wheelchair bound,” he said.
“I found the wheelchair marathon and basketball physically taxing.
“This was a real eye-opener and through our interaction, I learnt of the challenges experienced by physically impaired individuals.”
The hosting of the wheelchair games is one of the many social development initiatives the Disability Unit within the Health and Social Development Department hosted in partnership with community-based organisations in Ekurhuleni.
Members of the public who run disability awareness campaigns and wish to partner with the City of Ekurhuleni may contact the Health and Social Development’s Disability Unit through Sello Maleka at 011 999 1399.