Inspiring lives wherever she goes

2016-05-03 09:41
Jane Mandean  with her brothers Daniel (left) and James Mandean upon receiving her diploma in Theology from the Integrity Bible School.

Jane Mandean with her brothers Daniel (left) and James Mandean upon receiving her diploma in Theology from the Integrity Bible School.

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Jane Mandean was born with cerebral palsy and despite this, has managed to overcome every challenge that has she has come across as a result.
Mandean, who works as a senior administrator at Transnet, describes herself as a focused person who is well organised and knows what she wants from life.

“I know my family is there (for me) and I am helping my mom a lot, so I know how to balance things out. I do not feel that you are being victimised by this (condition). I am also a very strong-willed person,” says Mandean.
Being born with cerebral palsy meant that Mandean’s motor skills were under-developed, affecting her legs in particular.
“I walk with a crutch with limited balance and co-ordination,” she says.
She was then enrolled at Eros School for children with disabilities where she started playing sport at the age of 12.
After matriculating from the Eros School, Mandean furthered her sporting career, garnering many accolades along her way which included representing South Africa in athletics at the Paralympics in Atlanta in 1996, the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004 in Athens.
She hopes to be on her way to Rio de Janeiro where the Paralympics will take place later this year.

Mandean, who is one of four surviving siblings, suffered a horrific car accident in 2011 while travelling on the R300.
“That (the accident) actually caused my disability to worsen. It was a sad part of my life, because I had to pick it up from there because I had whiplash Grade 2 and my better leg got injured in the process,” explains Mandean.
She says that she lost her car in the process and had to face the uphill struggle of being able to regain her already limited motor skills, but she says that even that was not as disappointing as the support, or rather the lack thereof, she received.

“In that time of my life I was more disappointed because of the sweat I gave into the community. When my accident happened, at the church I was at (at the time), I did not get as much support which left me disappointed. I asked, ‘Lord why is this happening? You know that I have invested so much and done so much for the church’. That was a sad part of my life and in that time I was retrenched from the bank where I worked, so a lot of negativity (existed).”
As a result, Mandean, who was always involved in youth ministry up until that point, took a lesser interest in religion.

However, following a stint as a coach for the Western Cape Youth Games team, she was approached by her aunt to join her at the Integrity Bible Centre.
“I started to visit the church and got to know the pastor of the church. He saw that I was down and out and then (from there) he had a few counselling sessions with me.”
She says that through counselling, her faith and self-confidence was restored. She says that the pastor invited her to sign up for the theology course.
“I signed up a few months after that and he said that he would cover the costs, pick me up and drop me and that I did not have to do a thing and I must just get there. After three-and-a-half years, I finished my diploma in Theology. It was not an easy process.

She says that she will continue working at Transnet despite obtaining her diploma, but insisted that she will now go back into the community and reignite her passion for ministry.
“I want to do workshops and facilitate the different programmes, because for me it is going to be important in my life to make a change wherever I go and to live a changed life for others and being the hope they do not have. I have a motto: ‘Be inspired with the belief that life is a great and noble calling.’ It was something that somebody said to me, from my manager. He said, ‘I don’t know you for long, but this is the kind of aura that you give off since being in the company working with me’.”

Mandean has even been an inspiration at her workplace as she says that her office has started a disabled forum where we then meet and discuss various issues where she has gotten involved in helping to co-ordinate the annual Casual Day event in September.
“I would like to say that you must go for your dreams in life. Nothing is too hard, because whatever will come forth will bring in fruit.”

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