‘Taking every day as it comes’

2010-08-13 00:00

VISUALLY impaired Rhulani Baloyi is a journalist who works in radio and television. She co-hosts Shift, a daily talk show on SABC 2. She is a news reader on Radio 2000 and she is a compiler for SABC commercial radio stations. She was also the first presenter of SAfm’s talk show Intune and she has appeared on Noeleen’s 3talk, Metro fm and various African-language stations­ as a motivational speaker.

“My late grandfather was my biggest inspiration. He was wise and his actions and words guided me to my success. He held my hand from childhood until his death eight years ago,” said Baloyi.

Baloyi has a Bachelor of Arts degree­ (BA) and higher education diploma, which she obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand. She can speak Tsonga, Venda, Sesotho and Zulu fluently. She has even travelled to Australia and the United States.

“Sometimes people treat you differently on the basis of your disability. For example, I was almost denied a car from a leading car-hire company because I don’t have a licence. I was told that having a driver’s licence was a prerequisite for hiring a car. I had a licenced driver with me and it took a lot of convincing to get the car.”

Baloyi has recently been honoured with other reputable women for the Rapport/City Press Prestige Women award 2008. In 2006, she was awarded the multilingual award by the Pan-African Language Board (PanSALB) and an award for inspiring people­ with disabilities, who have made it against all odds, by the South African Blind Musicians Association.

Her favourite pastime is reading and she enjoys John Grisham’s investigative and legal thrillers the most.

“I reconnected with my writing just after my mum died. It was my only escape from reality. I was comfortable living in other people’s worlds. Mine was too hectic to deal with.”

What is your motto? That it’s okay to walk with your eyes closed, as long as you don’t sleep along the way.

What are the three things that you can’t live without:

Curiosity, fulfilling conversations and my grey matter.

What drives you to be successful?

Taking every day as it comes. Creating room for disappointments and treating disappointments as temporary challenges, which will, and have to be, overcome.

What life lesson have you learnt that you think other people would benefit from ?

The only person who really cares about you, is yourself.

There’s no one else who knows what you want and who is waiting to give it to you. • This is the last of a series of articles on women and disabilities.

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